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S.S. Mana arriving at an American East Coast port on 12 September 1942.
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Class: EX MANA (AK-61)
Design: EFC 1023
Displacement (tons): 3,283 gross, 5,340 dwt.
Dimensions (feet): 355.0' oa, 324.0' pp x 46.0' mld. x 22.9' load
Original Armament: 1-4"/50 4-20mm (1942: actual or planned)
Later armaments: --
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,440
Machinery: Turbine, 1 screw
||22 Sep 19
||31 Dec 19
||21 Jul 42
||24 Nov 47
No FY assigned. On 6 Apr 42 CNO's office wrote to the Maritime Commission concerning its grave concern over the availability of ships to serve the Iceland area. The need for supplies there were increasing as the U.S. built up its forces there, and it was also desirable to build up reserves of supplies and coal on the island as a precaution against future bad weather and enemy action. At the same time the delays in the services provided by the eleven ships allocated by WSA and the Navy to Iceland were becoming severe. Currently four of the ships were out of action, and the time it took each of the others to make a round-trip voyage was nearly two months. The Navy felt that to meet present needs four Lake-type small cargo ships should be added to the Iceland service at once and that, to meet the anticipated need for 24 ships beginning in June, up to five more Lake-type ships would be needed. On 19 May 42 the Secretary of the Navy approved a policy to take over vessels in the Iceland service. By 1 Jul 42 CNO's office had identified four freighters, all then being operated by WSA under allocation to the Navy, that the Navy would acquire, give very limited two-week long conversions, and turn over to small Coast Guard Reserve crews that would be about the same size as the ships' merchant crews. The ships would then be operated by the Naval Transportation Service instead of by WSA. On 2 July 1942 the VCNO wrote to the Auxiliary Vessels Board suggesting that these four ships, MALANTIC, LARRANAGA, EL COSTON, and MANA be acquired, and the board in its report #47 of 4 Jul 42 directed the acquisition of the ships. The hull numbers AK 58-61 were reserved for them, and an ordnance listing dated 18 July indicates that these numbers were assigned in the order just named. On 3 Jul 42 the acting SecNav, James Forrestal, asked the director of WSA, Admiral Land, to acquire the ships and make them available for conversion at Boston between late July and late August 1942. On 13 Jul 42 Admiral Land sternly refused, stating that the Navy's request was in conflict with an agreement reached between WSA and the Navy in April that WSA was to "acquire for the Navy the use of all commercial vessels requested by the Navy for employment as fleet auxiliaries or combatant vessels." The requested four ships, however, were operating in the Icelandic ship pool with military supplies for both the Army and Navy, and it was clear that they could not be classified as either fleet auxiliaries or combatant vessels. The Navy was thus challenging one of the main functions of WSA, to operate vessels under pool rather than individual service or agency control in order to best coordinate the use of scarce vessels' space by all agencies. WSA appears to have won this argument, as there is no further mention in Navy records of the acquisition of these ships. AK 58-61 were listed in the 1956 Ships Data Book as "not acquired" (cancelled) as of 21 Jul 42, although the document on which this entry was based has not been located.
MORAVIA BRIDGE, one of 150 prefabricated EFC Design 1023 ships built by the Submarine Boat Co., Newark, N.J., during World War I, was purchased by Matson Navigation Co. from the Shipping Board in 1926 and placed under the Honduran flag as MANA. WSA took her over from Matson on 31 Dec 41 and assigned her to the United States Lines for operation. She remained under Honduran registry throughout the war. The Navy expected as of 1 Jul 42 that she would be available for conversion and manning at Boston on 24 Aug 42.
||Ex MORAVIA BRIDGE 1926 (ID-4462, completed Mar 20). Hull number officially not used. To NDRF 5 Jan 46, scrapped by 25 May 48.
Compiled: 10 Jan 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010