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Photo # NH 70470:  SS El Occidente, prior to her World War I era U.S. Navy service

Online Library of Selected Images:

S.S. El Occidente (American Freighter, 1910).
Served as USS El Occidente (ID # 3307) in 1918-1919

S.S. El Occidente, a 6008 gross ton (10,300 tons displacement) freighter built at Newport News, Virginia, was completed in 1910. Owned by the Southern Pacific Steamship Company, she operated under U.S. Army contract during much of World War I. In late August 1918 she was turned over to the Navy and placed in commission as USS El Occidente (ID # 3307). Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service, the ship was converted to an animal transport. In that role she completed two round-trip voyages to France between mid-September 1918 and the end of that year. In January 1919 El Occidente made a final trip to France with general cargo. In mid-March, after returning to the U.S., she was decommissioned and transferred to the U.S. Shipping Board.

El Occidente was also employed during World War II under the ownership of the War Shipping Administration. Operated under Panamanian registry by United States Lines, she was sunk north of Norway by the German submarine U-435 on 13 April 1942, while en route from Murmansk, Russia, to Iceland with convoy QP-10. Nearly half of her crew members were lost with her.

This page features all available views concerning the steamship El Occidente and USS El Occidente (ID # 3307).

Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

Photo #: NH 70470

S.S. El Occidente
(American Freighter, 1910)

Photographed prior to her World War I era Naval service.
This steamship served as USS El Occidente (ID # 3307) in 1918-1919.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 47KB; 740 x 490 pixels

Photo #: 19-N-13863

USS El Occidente
(ID # 3307)

Photographed circa late 1918 painted in dazzle camouflage. Note the gun on deck forward and the additions to her superstructure amidships.
The photo shows her either as a merchant ship under contract to the Army in or before August 1918 or as a Navy ship after that date.

Source: U.S. National Archives, RG-19-N box 7.


The following photograph is of a ship that may be USS El Occidente, though it could also be one of her sisters, USS El Oriente (ID # 4504) or USS El Sol (ID # 4505):

Photo #: NH 106039

U.S. Navy Cargo Ship

Photographed circa early 1919, possibly in the Gironde River, France, off the American Bassens port facility.
This ship is either USS El Oriente (ID # 4504), USS El Occidente (ID # 3307), or USS El Sol (ID # 4505). The name on her bridge face is long enough to be El Occidente. The ship is carrying a bow gun on a platform and is in freighter configuration. El Oriente and El Sol were converted to transports in the Spring of 1919, while El Occidente was decommissioned in March of that year.
The original photograph is printed on post card ("AZO") stock.

Donation of Dr. Mark Kulikowski, 2008.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 80KB; 740 x 470 pixels



  • To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

  • Some images linked from this page bear obsolete credit lines citing the organization name: "Naval Historical Center". Effective 1 December 2008 the name should be cited as: "Naval History and Heritage Command".

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    Page made 11 September 2006