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Artist's sketch of M/V Blue Sunoco circa 1929
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.
Class: HALAWA (AOG-12)
Design Small tanker, 1929
Displacement (tons): 1,155 light, 3, 650 lim.
Dimensions (feet): 255.0' oa, 246.5' wl/pp x 43.0' e x 16.0 lim.
Original Armament: 1-3"/50 2-20mm
Later armaments: --
Complement 47 (1944)
Speed (kts.): 8.5
Propulsion (HP): 1,000
Machinery: 2 screws, 2 Cooper-Bessemer diesels
||10 Apr 42
||Sun SB & DD
||14 Jan 29
||6 Apr 29
||10 Apr 42
||25 Oct 45
||13 Nov 45
||25 Oct 45
||4 Jun 48
FY 1942. In April 1929 the Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. completed a special type twin-screw motor tanker for the Sun Oil Co. Although designed primarily for ocean (coastal) service, this tanker was also to be used on the canal between Montreal and the Great Lakes. She had a very low profile, a single pole mast that presumably could be lowered while on the canal, and no smokestack. The then-unnamed tanker, which soon became BLUE SUNOCO, was described at the time of her completion in April 1929 as entirely modern in every respect, with complete deck equipment, an electric light plant, cold storage, hydro-electric steering gear, a heating system, an electric capstan and windlass, a ventilating system, and a cargo-oil system arranged for rapid loading and discharging of liquid cargoes. Her two KR-6 six-cylinder 500-HP Bessemer Diesel engines of the direct-reversible, one lever control type, could be operated by a single engineer even in reverse.
On 10 Dec 41 CNO authorized the acquisition under time charter of the tanker BLUE SUNOCO from the Sun Oil Co. at New York and the tanker FLYING A from the Tidewater Associated Oil Co. at Philadelphia. No conversion was to be made at present, the vessels were to be operated by the Naval Transportation Service, and they were not to be classed or renamed. BLUE SUNOCO was time chartered on 24 Dec 41 and sent to the Pacific, where she supplied fuel to naval and naval air facilities within the Hawaiian Islands and on occasion to more distant outposts in the Central Pacific such as Midway, Johnston, and Canton Islands. In March 1942 CinCPac, citing the future contemplated operations of both of these tankers, requested that they be acquired under bareboat charter and operated with Navy crews. On 31 Mar 42 VCNO asked the MC for the ships and authorized the Commander, 14th Naval District to take them over. Again, no conversion was to be made at the present time unless directed by CinCPac. According to VCNO the two ships were to be classed as Base Oilers (AOb), a designation signifying slow (10 knot) and probably small oilers that had been used in Navy Department planning for the mobilization of the merchant marine since at least the mid-1930s, but by 10 Apr 42 BuShips had classified them AOG (gasoline tankers). On 11 Apr 42 the Auxiliary Vessels Board took note of VCNO's letter of 31 Mar 42 and recommended acquisition of the two ships.
The armament of HALAWA, ex BLUE SUNOCO, was installed at Pearl Harbor on 30 Jul 42. She suffered a serious generator failure on 21 Dec 44 while returning from Canton Island and was towed home by USS ATR-12 (or, according to the ship's log, ATR-52). A subsequent Insurv inspection reported that on this last trip there had been 57 engine stoppages during the 21 days before the final complete power failure. In addition, between February 1943 and March 1945 she had spent over one third of her time in a Navy Yard. Her operational commander stated that she had spent about 40% of her time under repair and that the present condition of the hull and machinery was very poor. Based on these reports the Navy decided she was not worth fixing and, on 19 Apr 45, moved her from a pierside berth to a buoy. After the war, she was towed from there to San Francisco for disposal by WSA. Her previous owner, the Sun Oil Co., declined to take her back and passed title to WSA on 10 Sep 45. The first attempt by the MC (WSA) to sell the ship (on 12 Dec 46) was cancelled because the buyer defaulted, and she was purchased on the second try by the Foss Launch & Tug Co. Curiously Foss retained her original Sun Oil Co. name, BLUE SUNOCO.
||Ex merc. BLUE SUNOCO (ID-4863, completed 12 Apr 29). Merc. BLUE SUNOCO (MC) 1945, to buyer 5 Jul 48 as BLUE SUNOCO, scrapped 1956.
Compiled: 14 Aug 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010