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Photo #  NH 101818:  Steamer Moccasin, ex-Prinz Joachim.  Probably photographed in 1917

Online Library of Selected Images:

Moccasin (American Passenger-Cargo Steamer, 1903).
Originally the German steamship Prinz Joachim.
Served as USS Moccasin (ID # 1322) in 1918-1919.
Later renamed Porto Rico

Prinz Joachim, a 9060-ton passenger-cargo steamer, was built at Flensburg, Germany, in 1903 for commercial use. When the United States entered World War I in 1917 she was taken over by the U.S. Shipping Board and renamed Moccasin. The U.S. Army chartered her later in the year, but in February 1918 she was acquired by the Navy and placed in commission as USS Moccasin (ID # 1322). Serving as a refrigerated cargo ship, she transported food across the Atlantic from March 1918 until she was decommissioned in early June 1919 and returned to the Shipping Board. Renamed Porto Rico in 1920, the ship was broken up in 1933.

This page features all available views concerning the steamer Moccasin (of 1903) and USS Moccasin (ID # 1322).

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

Photo #: None

Prinz Joachim
(German passenger-cargo ship, 1903)

Underway at Le Havre, France, before World War I. Called the bateau à musique (music boat), she sailed between Hamburg and New York with a call at Le Havre.

Source: Shipscribe

Photo #: NH 101818

(U.S. Freighter, 1903)

Probably photographed soon after she was taken over by the U.S. Shipping Board in 1917. Formerly the German merchant ship Prinz Joachim, she still wears that name on her bow.
This ship was chartered by the U.S. Army in late 1917, acquired by the Navy on 19 February 1918 and placed in commission on 26 February 1918 as USS Moccasin (ID # 1322). She was returned to the Shipping Board on 2 June 1919 and later became the SS Porto Rico.

The original print is in National Archives' Record Group 19-LCM.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 74KB; 740 x 530 pixels

Photo #: NH 105953

S.S. Moccasin
(American refrigerated cargo ship, 1903)

Listing and flooding alongside a pier at the Erie Basin in Brooklyn, New York, between the time she was returned to the U.S. Shipping Board by the Navy in June 1919 and sold by the Shipping Board as S.S. Porto Rico between 1920 and 1922. The nature of the accident is unknown, although other ships had similar mishaps in the New York area during the World War I period, including the refrigerated cargo ship Sixaola and the transports America and St. Paul.
This ship served as USS Moccasin (ID # 1322) in 1918-1919.

Donation of Captain Stephen S. Roberts, USNR (Retired), 2008.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Online Image: 124KB; 575 x 765 pixels


A possibly interesting sidelight: The last World War I veteran to visit the Photographic Section had served on board USS Moccasin. He came by our office in 1987, accompanied by his son, and inquired about photos of his old ship. We had none in our index, but thought to check in the Ships' Histories Branch, whose SP Data cards frequently feature small pictures. Sure enough, the Moccasin card had a view of her, the same one presented above as Photo # NH 101818. When shown the card, the old gentleman's eyes brightened and he exclaimed with considerable enthusiasm "There she is!". It may not be a wonderful image, but it certainly pleased one old Navy vet.


  • 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 8 March 2002
    New image added 27 February 2009