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USNS ATA 240.
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Class: ATA 239 (ARMY LT DESIGN 377/377-A)
Design: Army Designs 377, 377-A (143', steel)
Displacement (tons): 588 light, 860 full
Dimensions (feet): 143' oa, 134' wl x 33' e/wl x 14' max nav
Accommodations: 13 officers, 13 unlicensed
Speed (kts.): 12
Propulsion (HP): 1,500 (Dsn 377), 1,900 (Dsn 377-A)
Machinery: Diesel electric, 1 screw
|239||ATA 239||1 Mar 1950||Levingston SB, Orange, TX||26 Apr 1943||Apr 1944||1 Mar 1950|
|240||ATA 240||1 Jul 1950||Levingston SB, Orange, TX||18 Mar 1943||29 Feb 1944||1 Jul 1950|
|239||ATA 239||T||13 Jul 1950||26 Sep 1950||14 Jul 1950||Trf. Army||--|
|240||ATA 240||T||24 Apr 1961||4 Aug 1971||11 Apr 1975||Navy sale||--|
On 13 Aug 1941 the US Navy responded to a Lend Lease requisition from the British
by ordering the first of what became a long series of 143-foot steel oceangoing tugs. The Bureau of Ships contracted with the General Motors Corporation to build the tugs. GM provided the diesel-electric propulsion machinery and subcontracted construction of the hulls to two Gulf Coast yards including Levingston SB of Orange, Texas. On 18 Mar 1943 the Army ordered its first three examples (LT 454-456) of this versatile type. It used the Navy's design but did not follow the Navy's contracting procedure and instead ordered the three tugs directly from Levingston and gave them diesels by Cooper-Bessemer. The result was Army Design 377. On 26 Apr 1943 the Army placed an order for 15 more 143-foot tugs, LT 528-538 and 578-581, but this time followed the Navy's pattern of ordering them from the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of General Motors with the hulls subcontracted to Levingston. These became Army Design 377-A and were virtually identical to the Navy ATAs.
ATA 239 (LT 532, Design 377-A) was among the Army ships operating out of continental US ports that were to be acquired on 1 Mar 1950 for which names, classification, and hull numbers were approved on 21 Feb 1950. She was inspected on 9-13 Feb 1950 while undergoing a major overhaul at the Todd Ship Repair Yard, Hoboken Division, Hoboken, NJ, and was found in satisfactory condition. On 12 Apr 1950 the Deputy Commander of MSTS-Atlantic recommended to the Commander, MSTS, that ATA 239 be inactivated or reassigned to another command where she might be employed more usefully. The Army had maintained her at New York between 3 Jan 1949 and 8 Feb 1950 to meet its deep-sea towing requirements there, but MSTSA expected its towing requirements to be less and could be met more economically by the Navy's Service Force Atlantic or by a commercial towing company. Commander MSTS relayed the request to CNO on 29 May 1950. On 9 Jun 1950 the Army informed SecNav that it had a requirement for a diesel electric tug for use at Fort Eustis, Va., and requested transfer of LT 532 for that purpose. On 15 Jun 1950 Commander MSTS supported this request and on 23 Jun 1950 Assistant SecNav informed the Secretary of the Army that the Navy would transfer title to and possession of the ship to the Army at New York. On 13 Jul 1950 she was placed out of service and title and possession were transferred to the Army.
ATA 240 (LT 455, Design 377) was among 31 Army, two MA, and 5 SCAJAP ships then operating under commands in the Far East that were to be transferred to the Navy about 1 July 1950. She operated from Japanese ports with a civilian crew providing towing services throughout the Far East until being placed in reserve at Sasebo in 1961 because commercial services had become more economical.
On 30 March 1951 the Navy wrote to the Secretary of the Army requested that, to meet ocean-towing requirements in the Far East in FY 1952, title to and possession of the Army tugs LT 454 and LT 531, presently assigned to the Japan Logistical Command, Yokohama be transferred to the Navy. On 24 April 1951 the Army acknowledged that these tugs possessed seagoing characteristics that were not essential to the harbor tug work which they were then performing for the Army and agreed to transfer them to the Navy provided that two Navy tugs of the 100-ft diesel electric class of which many were in reserve would be made available as replacements. Due to the shortage of spare parts for electric-driven vessels in the Far East Command each of the replacement vessels should carry on board a supply of spare parts for one year. The Navy replied on 13 June 1951 that a resurvey of its ocean-towing requirements in the Far East now indicated that the transfer of these tugs to the Navy would not be required and the request was withdrawn.
|239||ATA 239||(ex-LT 532, Design 377A, completed Apr 1944). Army design 377-A. Accepted by War Dept 5 Apr 1944, entered into Army Transportation Service 11 Apr 1944. In 1950 was a unit of the Army Transportation Corps. Reverted to LT 532 when returned on 13 Jul 1950. Sold 1968 becoming the mercantile ACTIVE.|
|240||ATA 240||(ex-LT 455, Design 377, completed 29 Feb 1944). Civilian manned. Inactivated at Sasebo, Japan, on 24 Apr 1961. By 1971 she had deteriorated beyond economical repair and was stricken. She was then handed over in 1971 to the Army for cannibalization and then sold by the Navy on 11 Apr 1975 to a buyer in Okinawa.|
Compiled: 18 Aug 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021