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USS Bath (AK-4) circa 1920
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Class: BATH (AK-4)
Design Cargo, 1913
Displacement (tons): 6,425 normal
Dimensions (feet): 344.0' oa, 329.2' pp x 46.2' wl x 19.2' mn
Original Armament: 3-3"/50
Later armaments: none (1920)
Complement 103 (1924)
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,650
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||3 Aug 17
||25 Sep 13
||30 Jul 17
||9 May 22
||30 Sep 25
||2 Jan 26
In 1913-1914 two German yards delivered the 2,500 gross ton cargo ships ANTARES, ANDROMEDA and ARCTURUS to the Bremen firm Dampschiffs-Gesellschaft "Argo" (the Argo Steamship Co.). In 1897 this firm had purchased from the Norddeutscher Lloyd line its short-sea service to Britain with the Lloyd's seven small ships then on that run. The U.S. Navy crew of the former ANDROMEDA noted in 1921 that "this vessel has large hatches and is especially adapted for the carrying of lumber in her lower holds; she can also carry a good deck load of lumber." ANDROMEDA departed Bremen on 15 Jun 14 and after calling at Antwerp arrived at Havana on 6 Jul 14. She then steamed to New Orleans where she took refuge upon the outbreak of war in August. Of her two sisters, ARCTURUS was seized by France in 1914 and ANTARES was seized by Portugal in 1916.
On 31 Jan 17 Germany notified the United States that it intended to resume unrestricted submarine warfare the next day and the crews of many of the German ships in the U.S. began to sabotage the machinery of their ships to prevent their use when the U.S. entered the war, which occurred on 6 Apr 17. ANDROMEDA was seized at New Orleans by Customs officials on 6 Apr 17 and a Navy Port Guard was placed on board. On 21 Apr 17 CNO's office notified the Naval Station, New Orleans, that arrangements had been made to repair ANDROMEDA at the Naval Station and directed the Navy authorities to make necessary arrangements to take the ship over from Treasury Department representatives and begin the work. On 14 May 17 the Navy Department notified the Bureaus and the Navy Yard, New Orleans that ANDROMEDA had been transferred to the Navy and would be fitted out as a collier and cargo vessel. She was one of 14 seized steamers for which SecNav announced new names on 4 Jun 17. These, including the name BATH for ANDROMEDA, were promulgated in Navy General Order 301 of 9 Jun 17. ANDROMEDA was also one of 87 German vessels whose seizure by the Shipping Board was authorized by Presidential Executive Order 2651 of 30 Jun 17, and the name AGRICOLA was selected for her. This contradiction was resolved by Presidential Executive Order 2677 of 3 Aug 17 which ordered ANDROMEDA to be transferred from the Shipping Board to the Navy Department. In the meantime her engines, which had been disabled by her German crew, were repaired and the ship was commissioned at the New Orleans Navy Yard on 30 Jul 17. Completion had been delayed a month by the need to change her complement from 25 merchant sailors to 63 Navy men and the need to fit guns. An armament of 4-3"/50 was assigned to the ship but it proved possible to mount only three of the guns. BATH sailed from New Orleans on 2 Aug 17 with a commercial cargo of lumber for New York, then departed New York on 21 August and proceeded to Boston to take her place in a Europe-bound convoy. She remained primarily in transatlantic service until assigned to the Train, Atlantic Fleet at the end of 1918. For the next two and a half years the ship carried Navy cargoes between the east and west coasts. She was designated AK-4 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20.
BATH was assigned to the Asiatic Fleet on 14 Jul 21. On 2 Nov 21 CNO informed the Commandant, 3rd Naval District that the new freighter VEGA (AK-17) was to replace the old collier ABARENDA (AC-13), then at Manila, on the Navy List but that the actual relief of ABARENDA would be accomplished by BATH. BATH had departed San Francisco for Manila on 28 Oct 21 but only arrived on 6 Jan 22 after spending nearly a month at Honolulu for repairs to her propeller and tail shaft. BATH ended up being decommissioned at Cavite on 9 May 22 while ABARENDA was retained in service. BATH was stricken on 30 Sep 25 and placed on sale. She was sold to S. R. Paterno of Manila (Jos. Madrigal & Co.) on 2 Jan 26 for $42,250 and renamed PAZ. The ship was sold again in 1929 to Cie. de Nav. Paquet and renamed OUED FEZ for that company's Senegal service. Requisitioned by the French government 22 Oct 39, she passed under Vichy control in June 1940 and was seized by the British at Dakar on 19 Oct 42. The freighter was returned to Paquet after the war and was sold to F. Longobardo of Naples on 2 Apr 52 and renamed ROSALINDA. She ran aground west of Abrolhos Rock off the Brazilian coast on 29 Oct 55 on a voyage from Trieste to BuenosAires with cement and later sank.
||Ex merc. ANDROMEDA (completed 22 Dec 13). Converted by NYd New Orleans. Merc. PAZ (Philippine) 1926, OUED FES (French) 1928, ROSALINDA (Italian) 1952. Wrecked 31 Oct 55 off Brazil.
Compiled: 26 Aug 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012