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USS Beaufort (AK-6) on 7 May 1925
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Class: BEAUFORT (AK-6)
Design Cargo, 1909
Displacement (tons): 4,565 normal
Dimensions (feet): 288.9' oa, 276.8' pp x 40.2' x 18.25' mn
Original Armament: 4-3"/50
Later armaments: none (1920)
Complement 87 (1924)
Speed (kts.): 8
Propulsion (HP): 1,250
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||22 May 17
||24 Feb 09
||20 Sep 17
||23 Dec 25
||23 Dec 25
||22 Oct 26
The sons of Edward Carr, a former partner in one of Hamburg's oldest shipping companies, R.M. Sloman, founded a small firm called Edward Carr Söhne that had only one vessel (probably a sailing ship), in 1907. They took delivery of a steamer, RHEINGRAF, in 1909, but as their venture didn't succeed they closed the company in 1910. Leonhardt & Blumberg, also of Hamburg, purchased the ship in 1911 and renamed her RUDOLF BLUMBERG. Having just completed a charter to the Munson Steamship Line to work the Cuban sugar trade she departed New York on 20 Jul 14 for Pensacola and sailed from there on 8 Aug 14 for Spain. She got as far as Tampa where she lay for a time before returning to Pensacola where she took refuge.
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. RUDOLF BLUMBERG was seized by port officials at Pensacola on 6 Apr 17 to guard the ship and prevent its destruction by her officers and crew. On 2 May 17 the Naval Station at New Orleans was directed to make arrangements with the Collector of Customs at Pensacola to take over the RUDOLF BLUMBERG, arrange for towing to the Yard by contract if necessary, and make repairs to the ship, and the ship was taken over on 3 May 17. On 10 May 17 the U.S. Navy Aeronautic Station, Pensacola, contracted with the Gulf Machine Works, Pensacola, to repair this ship and VOGESEN, and on 8 Jun 17 the contractor reported that work was about 75% complete. On 13 Jun 17 a second contract was signed for additional work that would require another 30 days. The ship was then taken to the Naval Station, New Orleans to be fitted out as a Supply Ship. The ship was commissioned on 20 Sep 17 at the Navy Yard, New Orleans.
On 22 May 17 Presidential Executive Order 2625 ordered that RUDOLF BLUMBERG be transferred from the Treasury Department to the Navy Department for use as collier and cargo carrier. She was one of 14 seized steamers for which SecNav announced new names on 4 Jun 17. These, including BEAUFORT for RUDOLF BLUMBERG, were promulgated in Navy General Order 301 of 9 Jun 17.
BEAUFORT sailed in convoy from New York for France on 25 Oct 17. The Navy then loaned her to the Army for service on the Army's cross-channel coal shuttle and delivered her to the Army on 23 Jan 18. The Army released her back to the navy on 3 Feb 19 and the ship returned to Norfolk on 7 May 19. She then carried cargoes of coal and general supplies along the East Coast and to the Caribbean until being placed in reduced commission at Norfolk on 28 Oct 19. BEAUFORT was designated AK-6 when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. She was back in active service when CNO on 28 Jun 20 approved providing passenger quarters for carrying five officers and 20 men. This work was delayed because the ship's home yard was changed from New York to Charleston, S.C. in November 1920 and then to Norfolk in March 1921 and because of the ship's busy operating schedule. This scheduled included a West Indies voyage in January 1922 followed by a run up the East Coast from Norfolk to Portsmouth, N.H. and back with multiple stops during February and March. On 15 Jun 22 the Bureau of Construction and Repair noted that the requirement for these quarters had been reiterated, probably by CNO, and asked Norfolk to send drawings of the ship's layout to Washington as soon as possible. By 6 Jul 22 the work had been authorized. As of 1925 two of her holds were especially fitted for carrying gasoline while the other two carried coal and general cargo, and her passenger capacity was listed as 3 first class passengers and 20 troops.
The withdrawal of U.S. Marines from Santo Domingo and a reduction in the number of Marines in Haiti considerably reduced the transportation requirements to West Indian ports and the Navy withdrew BEAUFORT from that service. She was ordered sold on 14 Nov 25 and was decommissioned and stricken on 23 Dec 25. Bids received in late March 1926 were all rejected. She was sold on 22 Oct 26 to Julius Levey of New York who bid for Norwegian buyers. Renamed FJORDEN, the ship left New York on 11 Mar 27 for Baltimore to load a cargo of asphalt for a European port. She sank on 12 Apr 33 ten miles southwest of Hong Kong on a voyage from Bangkok to Hong Kong with rice.
||Ex merc. RUDOLF BLUMBERG, ex-RHEINGRAF (ID-3008, completed Mar 09). Converted by Gulf Machine Works, Pensacola, Fla., and NYd New Orleans. Merc. FJORDEN 1927, lost 12 Apr 33.
Compiled: 26 Aug 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012