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The tanker J. C. Donnell, later USS Pasig (AO-89), in commercial service circa the 1920s.
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Class: PASIG (AO-89)
Design Tanker, 1918
Displacement (tons): 5,782 light, 21,200 full
Dimensions (feet): 516.5' oa, 500.0' pp x 68.0' e x 27.2' mean
Original Armament: 1-4"/50 3-20mm (1943)
Later armaments: --
Speed (kts.): 10.5
Propulsion (HP): 3,000
Machinery: 2 screws, vertical inverted 4 cylinder quadruple expansion engines
||22 Jan 43
||Newport News SB & DD
||22 Mar 17
||24 Nov 17
||22 Jan 43
||25 Sep 43
||11 Oct 43
||25 Sep 43
||16 May 46
FY 1944. In 1916-17 Newport News SB & DD delivered six large flush-decked 516-foot tankers, five of them to the Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey and one, which later became USS PASIG (AO-89), to the Atlantic Refining Co. The Bethlehem Steel Co. delivered four more to Standard Oil of New Jersey, two from its Sparrows Point, Md., yard and two from its San Francisco yard. In 1921 Newport News delivered two more to a different buyer while Federal SB & DD at Kearny, N.J., delivered two to the Imperial Oil Co. and three to Standard Oil of New Jersey. Two of these three were acquired by the Navy as station tankers late in the war (see the IX-191 class). In 1918 Newport News also built for Standard Oil of New Jersey two ships to a smaller 477-foot version of this design, H.M. FLAGLER and F.D. ASCHE. These in turn were the prototypes for eight ships built for the Shipping Board in 1919-20 and taken into the Navy as the PATOKA (AO-9) class. J. C. DONNELL was inspected for possible Navy service by the 5th Naval District on 3 Jan 18 but, like many other large tankers, was allowed to remain in commercial service.
After the outbreak of World War II, J. C. DONNELL was time chartered to WSA by the Atlantic Refining Co. on 22 Jan 42 at Philadelphia. On 7 Dec 42 Commander Service Squadron South Pacific recommended the acquisition of J. C. DONNELL for use as floating petroleum storage in the South Pacific at New Caledonia. CinCPac forwarded the recommendation with his concurrence on 1 Jan 43 and OpNav approved the action the next day after negotiations with WSA. On 5 Jan 43 the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended acquiring the ship, noting that it was aware of the urgent need for additional tankers in the South Pacific area and that it understood that the material condition of J. C. DONNELL warranted her acquisition to meet this need. The ship was taken over at Noumea, New Caledonia, under bareboat charter and commissioned on 22 Jan 43. She underwent no Navy conversion.
The Navy Department soon had second thoughts about using a fully operational tanker as floating storage, realizing that she could be employed to better advantage transporting petroleum products. Coincidentally the modern tanker MOBILUBE (built in 1939 at Sparrows Point and a prototype for the AO-36 class, q.v.) was torpedoed off New South Wales, Australia, on 18 Jan 43 by the Japanese submarine I-21. MOBILUBE sank but was salvaged, and on 5 Jul 43 the Navy acquired and placed in service the hulk, which it designated YO-164 (later YON-164), for use in the Southern Pacific as non-self-propelled floating storage for fuel oil. YO-164 was then towed to Noumea, where she and several non-self-propelled concrete barges replaced PASIG. The Navy then ordered PASIG back to the West Coast for decommissioning and return to WSA, in the expectation that WSA would give the ship a merchant crew and allocate her back to the Navy for operation in the Pacific by Commander, Service Force, Pacific Fleet. PASIG was duly decommissioned and returned to WSA a few days after arriving at San Francisco in mid-September 1943, and on 21 Dec 43 the ship's owner, Atlantic Refining, again time chartered her to WSA.
After the war, on 26 Sep 45, Atlantic Refining traded in the old ship at Baltimore to the MC in exchange for newer tonnage. The MC laid J. C. DONNELL up at Lee Hall, Va., on 29 Oct 45 and sold her for scrapping in mid-1946. The much newer MOBILUBE was fully reconditioned after the war, was enlarged in 1957 and operated until 1972.
||Ex merc. J. C. DONNELL (ID-2250, completed 21 Jan 18). Merc. J. C. DONNELL 1944. To buyer 4 Jun 46, scrapped by 31 Jan 48.
Compiled: 04 Aug 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010