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USAT Grommet Reefer in 1948 at Seattle.
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Class: GROMMET REEFER (T-AF 53, C1-M-AV1)
Design: MC R1-M-AV3 (refrigerated) ex C1-M-AV1
Displacement (tons): 3,277 light, 8,360 full
Dimensions (feet): 339' oa, 320' wl x 50' e/wl x 21'
Accommodations: 11 officers, 28 enlisted
Speed (kts.): 10
Propulsion (HP): 1,700
Machinery: Diesel, 1 screw
|53||GROMMET REEFER||1 Mar 1950||Walter Butler SB, Duluth||1 Jan 1944||29 Jul 1944||1 Mar 1950|
|53||GROMMET REEFER||T||--||20 Oct 1953||15 Dec 1952||Lost||23 Jul 1953|
In mid-1943 the Joint Chiefs of Staff asked the Maritime Commission to add to its building program a new type of coastal cargo ship to support the island-hopping campaign against Japan in the Southwest and Central Pacific, and ultimately over 200 of these small ocean-going diesel-propelled cargo ships of the Maritime Commission's C1-M-AV1 type and its refrigerated R1-M-AV3 variant were built. After World War II the Army began to acquire some of these ships for its post-war permanent fleet, and as of 31 August 1948 it had 21 of them excluding those in SCAJAP, of which four were fitted as small transports and five were reefers (BOWLINE REEFER, STAR REEFER, WALL AND CROWN, FLEMISH BEND, and PIER BEND). All were Army-owned except for one cargo C1-M-AV1 and all five R1-M-AV3s, which were under bareboat charter. GROMMET REEFER, which had been built as a C1-M-AV1 but converted to a reefer in 1945, was acquired a month later, also under bareboat charter. By 28 February 1950 the Army's holdings of these types had fallen to 12 ships, including four passenger (which became APC 116-119), six cargo (AK 245-250), and two refrigerated (AF 53 and the reacquired AF 44).
AF 53 was among the Army ships operating out of continental US ports that were to be acquired on 1 Mar 1950 for which Navy names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 21 Feb 1950. She was duly acquired on 23 February 1950 effective 1 March 1950 and was assigned the status "Active, In service" in MSTS on 24 February 1950. She was shifted from the Northern Pacific to the Atlantic in February 1952.
|53||GROMMET REEFER||2243||Launched as KENNETH E GRUENNERT of the C1-M-AV1 type, completed 9 Dec 1944, renamed GROMMET REEFER 1945 and redesignated R1-M-AV3. Delivered to commercial operator at New Orleans 31 May 1945. To Army 23 Sep 1948. To MSTS 1 Mar 1950. On 13 Dec 1952 she anchored off the port of Leghorn, Italy, with a cargo of Christmas items for American forces in Italy and Austria. On 15 Dec 1952 a heavy gale caused her to drag her anchors, ground on rocks, and break in half. Early in 1953 her bow was salved, followed later by the stern. The ship was declared a constructive total loss on 18 Mar 1953, sold on 4 Jun 1953, and transferred to the MA and sale completed on 23 Jul 1953.|
Compiled: 23 Jul 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021