Topila, a 5125 gross ton tanker, was launched on 12 June 1913 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. and delivered to the East Coast Oil Co. on 22 July 1913. She was acquired by the Navy at Philadelphia late in the summer of 1917 and was commissioned on 8 September 1917.
Assigned to the Train, Atlantic Fleet, the tanker carried fuel oil from petroleum centers on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to ports along the Atlantic seaboard and in Europe. When the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) was established on 9 January 1918, Topila was one of the original ships assigned to that organization. At that time, she had been at sea for five days laden with oil destined for England. Upon her arrival at Devonport on 19 January, she discharged her cargo, got underway for home four days later, and reached New York on 13 February.
Topila subsequently made two more round-trip voyages to European waters under NOTS orders: one to Portsmouth, England, and the other to Verdon, France. She returned to New York from the latter on the final day of March and resumed voyages carrying fuel from Port Arthur, Tex., to ports on the east coast. Decommissioned on 24 June 1918, she was simultaneously transferred, via the United States Shipping Board, to the Southern Pacific Co.
By 1939 Topila was owned by the Richfield Oil Corp. She was delivered on time charter to the War Shipping Administration on 20 April 1942 for World War II operations and was returned to Richfield on 14 December 1945. On 17 June 1747 she was sold to Constantinos Konialidis and renamed Jorgé S. The tanker was scrapped in 1950 at Baltimore.
This page features all available views concerning the tanker Topila, which served as USS Topila (ID # 3001) in 1917-1918.
Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.
Photo #: None
USS Topila (ID # 3001)
Photographed on 6 August 1939 while sailing for the Richfield Oil Corp.
Photograph by Walter E. Frost.
City of Vancouver (B.C.) Archives.
Page made 21 June 2017