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USS Arethusa on 3 October 1911
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Class: ARETHUSA (AO-7)
Design Tanker, 1893
Displacement (tons): 6,160 full
Dimensions (feet): 343.5' oa, 332.0' pp x 42.2' wl x 20.9' mn
Original Armament: 5-6pdr (1898)
Later armaments: 1-6pdr (1900); none (1910);
4-3"/50 (ca. 1918)
Complement 94 (1924)
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,700
Machinery: Vertical triple expansion, 1 screw
||12 Aug 98
||4 Mar 93
||28 Aug 98
||28 Jun 22
||18 Mar 27
||19 Jul 27
The tanker LUCILINE (misspelled LUCILENE in U.S. records) was delivered in April 1893 by Craig, Taylor, & Co. Ltd., Stockton-on-Tees, to the Petroleum Shipping Co. of London (managed by Alfred Stuart & Co.). In 1897 she was sold to the European Petroleum Co., Ltd., but retained her original managers. As no other LUCILINE (or LUCILENE) existed at the time, she must have been the British "freight steamship" that left Havana on 25 Apr 98 with a full cargo of molasses and sugar plus 112 refugees, including prominent Cubans and the Danish Consul at Havana, and arrived at Philadelphia on 5 May 98. She was also said to have brought a large amount of gold coin, consigned to American banking houses. Three months later LUCILINE was purchased on 12 Aug 98 (the day Spanish-American war hostilities ceased) from Thomas S. Hopkins and was renamed USS ARETHUSA. In 1899 another tanker named LUCILINE was built in England.
The Philadelphia Navy Yard converted ARETHUSA to a water tanker and supply ship. On 16 Dec 98 she left Philadelphia and on 25 Dec 98 she anchored off Havana and provided water to American warships operating in the area until sailing for home on 14 Jan 99. She reached Philadelphia on 18 Jan 99 and decommissioned there on 1 Feb 99. Recommissioned on 22 Aug 1900, ARETHUSA was sent, via Suez, to the Asiatic Station where she furnished water and supplies to U.S. Navy forces until returning to the U.S. East Coast (again via Suez) in August-October 1902. She was then employed as a water carrier in the Caribbean and western Atlantic areas, with both Navy and civilian crews. In December 1907 ARETHUSA began a long voyage around South America as a support ship for the Great White Fleet's World cruise. She reached Hawaii at the end of June 1908, but was then reassigned to the Pacific Fleet. Following a year and a half operating along the shores of California and Mexico, some of it as flagship of the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla, she returned to the Atlantic in early 1910.
With oil beginning to supplement coal as the Navy's primary fuel, upon arrival at the East Coast ARETHUSA became the fleet's first oil tanker, serving in that role for the remainder of her career. Her capacity was rated as 4,517 tons of oil. Prior to U.S. entry into World War I she mainly supported destroyers, which were early users of liquid fuel, delivering her cargo to fleet operating areas in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic Coast. In January 1918 Arethusa was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and began a series of wartime and post-war voyages to take oil to bases in the Azores and Western Europe. She also supplied fuel to destroyers and submarine chasers during operations at sea and escorted the subchasers on transatlantic voyages. When the Navy implemented its hull number system on 17 Jul 20 ARETHUSA was classified as an oiler and designated AO-7. She was placed out of commission on 28 Jun 22 and sold on 19 Jul 27. The date of 7 Jul 27 is also recorded for her sale to Marshall B. Hall of Boston, following which she was hulked.
||Ex merc. LUCILINE (completed Apr 93). Hulked in the USA in 1928.
Compiled: 04 Sep 2012
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2012