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USS Inca (IX-229) aground in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, circa late 1945 or 1946
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Class: GAMAGE/INCA (IX-227/229)
Design MC EC2-S-C1
Displacement (tons): 3,381 light, 14,230 full load
Dimensions (feet): 441.5' oa, 416.0' wl x 56.9' e x 27.75' full load
Original Armament: None or a few 20mm (ex-ALLISON)
Later armaments: --
Machinery: None (ex-ALLISON), 1 vert 3-exp. (ex-ABBOTT)
||24 Jul 43
||12 Aug 43
||30 Jul 45
||8 Feb 43
||8 Mar 43
||30 Jul 45
||21 Jul 45
||2 Feb 48
||8 Feb 46
||12 Mar 46
||6 Apr 46
||10 Feb 48
FY 1944. On 25 May 1945 the Liberty ship WILLIAM B. ALLISON was damaged by an aircraft torpedo off Nakagusuku Wan, Okinawa, and although towed into port was considered a constructive total loss, not suitable for towing. On 25 July 1945, based on a recommendation from the local War Shipping Administration (WSA) official, CNO authorized Commander Service Division (ComServDiv) 104 to accept the ship as is at Okinawa and place her in service as non-self-propelled floating dry storage. ComServDiv 104 accepted her at Okinawa on 30 July and on 6 August SecNav approved the name INCA and designator (IX-229) for her. She was converted to a storage ship by USS VESTAL (AR-4) and USS ZANIAH (AG-70), and was in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, when typhoons struck on 16 September and 9 October. During the September typhoon she was hit by a merchant ship and suffered topside damage that was considered repairable, and she continued to issue supplies to ships in the bay. During the October typhoon she broke adrift and was one of several ships that USS NESTOR (ARB-6) reported nearly hit her as NESTOR was inexorably being driven ashore. INCA went aground during the storm and remained aground afterwards, but plans to survey her in late October were cancelled and she appears to have remained in service as a storage ship into December. INCA was placed in the category "grounded ships, salvage not warranted" on 2 January 1946, and on 12 January 1946 ComServDiv 104 reported that the ship was no longer required, that an informal inspection indicated needed repairs were too extensive, and asked that she be returned to WSA. CinCPac in turn asked CNO what disposition was desired for INCA. CNO's response of 15 January, "above incorrect," was probably the first clear indication received in the Pacific that the name and designation they had been using for this ship for the past five months were incorrect.
Back on 29 June 1945 Commander Service Force, Pacific, requested that arrangements be made to acquire three damaged Liberty ships for self-propelled floating storage of lubricants and drummed petroleum products at Leyte, Ulithi, and Eniwetok. The ships specified, which were to become IX 226-228, were JOHN C. FREMONT, HENRY L. ABBOTT, and GUS W. DARNELL. On the same day CNO advised Commander in Chief Pacific Ocean Area that WSA was agreeable to the transfer, and on 1 July CinCPOA asked ComServPac to determine the details of their damage and arrange for their repair. On 10 July the Auxiliary Vessels Board recommended that they be acquired if their condition was determined to warrant temporary repairs for use as dry cargo mobile storage. On 14 July SecNav approved the name GAMAGE and designation IX-227 for the ex-ABBOTT (see the IX-103 page for the other two ships). This ship had been mined in Manila Bay on 1 May 1945 in the engine room and had been declared a constructive total loss. On 21 July, however, CNO wrote to the War Shipping Administration and asked that his request of 13 July for the ABBOTT be cancelled, because her poor hull condition made her unsuitable for use as dry cargo floating storage. CNO had already advised CinCPac a day earlier of the cancellation of ABBOTT. The Navy later decided to shift the name GAMAGE and the designation IX-227 to the ex-ALLISON and cancel the name INCA and number IX-229 given that ship on 6 August. This directive has not come to light in the archives, and the cryptic question sent to CinCPac by CNO on 17 August, "Request information re acceptances WILLIAM B. ALLISON for GAMAGE (IX-227) in lieu of HENRY L. ABBOTT" appears to have gone unappreciated when CinCPac on 24 August and again on 4 September reported the 30 July acceptance. The ex-ALLISON was consistently called INCA in all reporting from the Pacific Theater through mid-January 1946 and a photograph of her ashore at Buckner Bay shows the hull number IX-229 painted on her bow.
On 15 January 1946 CNO directed that GAMAGE be redelivered to WSA. Confusion continued regarding the ship: CinCPac reported her as decommissioned on 1 February 1946 and the Navy Department recorded the date as 5 February. On 6 February ComServDiv 104 reported they planned to decommission her on 7 February, and they soon followed up with a report that she had been placed out of service on 8 February and was lying on the bottom in Yonabaru Wan, Buckner Bay, Okinawa with water in the holds up to the 'tween decks. GAMAGE was stricken from the Navy List on 12 March 1946. On 26 February CNO told the naval base at Okinawa that WSA Okinawa was authorized to accept redelivery, but on 27 March the Okinawa naval base replied that WSA Okinawa refused to accept delivery without a specific directive from WSA Washington. The ship was finally redelivered to WSA as she lay on 6 April 1946. The Maritime Commission sold her under her merchant name with seven other Okinawa wrecks, including USS OCELOT (IX-110), VANDALIA (IX-191), and five civilian Liberty ships, to China Merchants and Engineers, Inc., for scrap. The ships were delivered to the buyer on 19 February 1948 under the condition that they be scrapped within two years and three months. An extension was later granted, and scrapping of all the ships except one of the civilian vessels was reported complete on 31 January 1952.
Note: These notes were originally written by Shipscribe for the Online Library of Selected Images and are presented here in an updated version.
||Ex merc. HENRY L. ABBOTT. Mined in Manila Bay 1 May 45 in the engine room. Acquisition by Navy as GAMAGE (IX-227) cancelled by CNO 21 Jul 45. To buyer 3 Mar 48, scrapped at Hong Kong 1951. Name and hull number assigned ca. August 1945 to INCA (IX-229) but notification not received until January 1946. Navy actions relating to the ex-W. B. ALLISON dated after mid-January 1946 referred to her as GAMAGE (IX-227).
||Ex merc. WILLIAM B. ALLISON (completed 24 Mar 43). Torpedoed by Japanese aircraft 25 May 45 in Buckner Bay, Okinawa. To Navy at Okinawa. Grounded in typhoon at Okinawa 9 Oct 45. To MC at Okinawa 1946 as WILLIAM B. ALLISON. To buyer there 19 Feb 48, scrapped prior 31 Jan 52. Navy actions relating to this ship dated after mid-January 1946 referred to her
Compiled: 28 Aug 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010