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S.S. Favorite circa 1907
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Class: FAVORITE (IX-45, ex YX-10)
Design: Salvage Tug, 1907
Displacement (tons): 1,223 gross, 1,160 displ.
Dimensions (feet): 196.0' oa, 180.7' reg x 43.0' x 9.0' mn, 12.6' aft
Original Armament: 2-3"/50 1-3"/50AA (1918)
Later armaments: none (ca. 1919)
Speed (kts.): 14
Propulsion (HP): 1,200
Machinery: Vert. triple expansion, 1 screw
||23 Jan 18
||2 Feb 07
||23 Jan 18
||3 Apr 20
||19 Feb 48
||25 Mar 48
The large wrecking (salvage) steamer FAVORITE was launched on 2 Feb 07 by the Buffalo Dry Dock Co. of Buffalo, New York, (a subsidiary of the American Ship Building Co) for the Great Lakes Towing Co. of St. Ignace, Michigan. She was designed by Mr. W. I. Babcock of New York and was said to be the most complete and most powerful wrecking steamer in the world. She was designed to live in any kind of water and to be practically unsinkable. Her hull was built of 20-lb. steel and had no large penetrations besides two gangways. In the bow her plating was increased to 5/8-in thick and backed by frames spaced 12-in. apart, and she was expected to break almost any ice formation by throwing herself upon the surface using her tremendous power and the cutaway of her bow. Her wrecking equipment included a steel A-frame derrick forward with a 60-ft. steel boom capable of a 3 ton lift, a 5-ton boom derrick aft for handling plates and material in and out of her after hatch and for handling her 30-ft. power launch. This launch was specially designed to be used for running lines to wrecks in heavy weather. She had a completely equipped machine shop capable of handling plates up to 1 inch thick and making practically any repairs that strandings and collisions might require. Her towing bitts were located a third of the way forward from the stern and forward of the main engine, and a large towing machine was located 30-ft. forward of the bitts. Nearly the entire hull aft of the main engine could be used for up to 600 tons of water ballast, which allowed her to get deep enough to withstand the heaviest weather and which also provided a strong lifting force for use in some salvage operations. Her coal bunkers with a capacity of 240 tons were located in the spar deck aft of the pilot house, and she had cabin accommodations for 90 men.
She conducted many salvage operations on the Lakes before World War I, the best known being the raising of S.S. EASTLAND (later USS WILMETTE, IX-29, q.v.), which had capsized at Chicago in 1915 with the loss of 844 lives. FAVORITE was taken over by the Navy and commissioned at Quebec in January 1918 as USS FAVORITE (ID # 1385). (Her owners then built a new FAVORITE.) The ship performed icebreaker duty off the coast of Maine until March, when she was refitted for overseas service as a salvage and wrecking ship. FAVORITE arrived at Brest, France, on 5 Aug 18 and was used to search for sunken ships and lost material and to salvage and assist grounded ships. She continued to conduct salvage operations at Brest and also in England until departing for the United States on 21 Jun 19.
On 27 Jun 19 the purchasing agent of the Panama Canal asked the Navy for a suitable vessel for duty as a lighthouse tender, but the Navy replied on 3 Jul 19 that none was available and that the Bureau of Lighthouses had concluded that the Navy had no ship that would warrant conversions. The agent wrote again on 6 Nov 19 asking specifically for FAVORITE, but the Navy responded on 19 Nov 19 that she was not available as the Secretary of the Navy had decided to retain her for use on salvage duty if necessity arose. A few months later the ship was designated for transfer to the Bureau of Education of the Department of the Interior, possibly for the service in Alaska later performed by the former sail training brig BOXER (q.v.), but instead she was decommissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 3 Apr 20 and simultaneously turned over to the Panama Canal Commission "for its use and custody."
Although no longer serving in the Navy, FAVORITE remained Navy property on loan, and she was put in the "District Unclassified" category without a hull number when the Navy's standard hull classification scheme was implemented on 17 Jul 20. In 1922 the Navy Filing Manual assigned the symbol YX-10 to FAVORITE, but the YX symbol, along with the manual's IX symbol for larger unclassified vessels, was used solely for filing paperwork and not as a designator for the ship. On 8 Mar 41 the YX and IX file symbols were consolidated and FAVORITE became IX-45, and at the same time the IX symbols were added to the Naval Vessel Register as designators for the ships. In the meantime, FAVORITE had resumed her Navy service when she was reacquired by the 15th Naval District on 24 Oct 40. She continued to operate in the Panama Canal, however, and was reassigned from Com-15 back to the Panama Canal Mechanical Division on 1 Nov 43.
FAVORITE was replaced in Panama Canal service by TABOGA (ATA-172, ex ATR-99) on 20 Dec 47, returned to Navy custody for the last time on 13 Jan 48, stricken from the Navy List in February 1948, and sold by the State Department's Foreign Liquidation Commission in March 1948. She became the Peruvian Navy's submarine salvage ship GUARDIAN RIOS (renamed RIOS circa 1955-56) and was operated by the Callao Port Authority. RIOS was removed from the Peruvian Navy List on 10 Jul 58.
||Ex merc. FAVORITE (ID-1385). Loaned to Panama Canal 3 Apr 20, given file symbol YX-10 in 1922 and designated IX-45 on 8 Mar 41. To Peru 1948 as GUARDIAN RIOS. Stk. by Peru 10 Jul 58.
Compiled: 20 Mar 2013
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2013