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USS Weehawken (CM-12) on 5 March 1943
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Class:        SALEM (CM-11)
Design:        Car Ferry, 1914
Displacement (tons):        5,300 light, 6,525 full
Dimensions (feet):        350.0' oa, 337.25' wl x 57.0' x 16.0' lim
Original Armament:        3-3"/50 8-20mm
Later armaments:        3-3"/50 2-40mmT 10-20mm (1943: both)
Complement:        275 (1944)
Speed (kts.):        12
Propulsion (HP):        2,700
Machinery:        Vert 3-exp., 2 screws

CM Name Acq. Builder Keel Launch Commiss.
11 SALEM 8 Jun 42 William Cramp & Sons -- 1916 9 Aug 42
12 WEEHAWKEN 15 Jun 42 William Cramp & Sons -- 1920 30 Sep 42

CM Name Decomm. Strike Disposal Fate MA Sale
11 SALEM 6 Dec 45 3 Jan 46 1 Jul 46 MC/D 7 Mar 47
12 WEEHAWKEN 11 Dec 45 3 Jan 46 16 Feb 46 Dest. --

Class Notes:
FY 1942. The car ferries JOSEPH R. PARROTT and ESTRADA PALMA were built for the Florida East Coast Railway to carry railcars from Key West, Florida, to Havana, Cuba. They were sisters of HENRY M. FLAGLER, which became USS KEOKUK (AN-5, q.v.). The ships had four sets of tracks on the main deck and could carry thirty large refrigerator railcars. The US terminus for the three ships moved to Port Everglades after the 1935 hurricane wiped out the railroad tracks to Key West.

During April 1942 OpNav informed the Auxiliary Vessels Board that the two ships, then laid up at Port Everglades, were available for acquisition, were in satisfactory material condition, and were suitable for conversion to minelayers. In view of the urgent need for additional minelayers the Board recommended on 9 May 42 that they be acquired and converted.

Both ships were reassigned to the Pacific in April-May 1944. On 20 Sep 44 and 14 Oct 44 CNO directed that CM-11 be temporarily converted to a net cargo vessel (AKN) capable of laying LISP-2 nets, although she was to retain the CM classification for the present. She arrived at Pearl Harbor under tow on 14 Nov 44 for repairs to grounding damage suffered at Tinian on 4 Oct 44 and the navy yard began preparing plans for "extensive hull and electrical alterations necessary for conversion to net cargo ship." She completed this temporary conversion on 10 Feb 45 and served as a net cargo ship for the remainder of the war. Her name was reassigned to CA-139 in July 1945 and she was renamed SHAWMUT effective 15 Aug 45. CM-12 was driven onto a reef at Buckner Bay on 9 Oct 45 by Typhoon Louise and became a total loss with her back broken. On 10 Nov 45 SecNav authorized CinCPac to decommission and strip the vessel and destroy the hulk. SHAWMUT and KEOKUK were sold back to their original owners in 1947 and resumed service from Florida to Havana under their original names.

Ship Notes:
CM Name Notes
11 SALEM Ex merc. JOSEPH R. PARROTT (ID-1584, completed Feb 18). Converted by the Norfolk Navy Yard. Renamed SHAWMUT 15 Aug 45. Merc. JOSEPH R. PARROTT 1947. Scrapped 1969.
12 WEEHAWKEN Ex merc. ESTRADA PALMA (ID-4573, completed Nov 20). Converted by Bethlehem Steel Co., Fletcher Division, Hoboken, N.J. Wrecked in typhoon at Okinawa 9 Oct 45, wreck destroyed there.

Page Notes:
CM        1942
Compiled:        29 Dec 2008
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2008