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Ex SS MICHAEL MORAN (YAG-59) at 0.08 of a second after the underwater Umbrella test detonated on 9 June 1958.
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Design: MC EC2-S-C1
Displacement (tons): 3,900 light, 13,710 full
Dimensions (feet): 442' oa, 416' pp x 57' e/wl x 28' max nav
Armament: none
Accommodations: unk.
Speed (kts.): 11
Propulsion (HP): 2,500
Machinery: Steam triple expansion reciprocating, 2 boilers (220psi/450deg), 1 screw

59YAG 59 (Ex MICHAEL MORAN)3 Sep 1957New England SB28 Jun 194416 Aug 1944COM/SRV

YAGNameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
59YAG 59 (Ex MICHAEL MORAN)----Sunk21 Jun 1958--

Class Notes:
Navy plans for operation Hardtack as revised on 21 Dec 1956 included a Liberty ship in the target array for the two underwater weapons effects tests planned at Eniwetok: the Wahoo deep underwater shot outside the lagoon which occurred on 16 May and the Umbrella shallow underwater shot inside the lagoon on 9 Jun 1958. In July 1957 representatives from the Navy's Bureau of Ships (BUSHIPS) selected the Liberty ship Michael Moran from the MARAD reserve fleet at Suisun Bay, California, for this purpose. MARAD transferred title to the ship to the Navy on 3 Sep 1957. "To facilitate the inclusion of this ship in the Naval Vessel Register and to simplify the establishing of correspondence files, recording fiscal data, etc." BUSHIPS requested in a letter to CNO dated 1 Oct 1957 that the assignment of the "Bow Number" YAG-59 be approved. The Bureau added that the ship would not be commissioned and would serve in the capacity of a Miscellaneous Auxiliary ship, therefore assignment of a new ship's name was not required. It was intended to identify the ship as "EX SS MICHAEL MORAN (YAG-59)".

The Long Beach Naval Shipyard prepared the ship for the tests. She was given a water washdown system, but unlike the destroyers in the target array the scientific program did not require her to be in an operational condition. Instead various kinds of machinery and other equipment were installed on board to measure blast and shock effects. USS Grasp (ARS-24) arrived at Eniwetok with Moran in tow on 3 March 1958.

For the 16 May 1958 Wahoo shot USS Cree (ATF84) moored her at a position broadside to and 2,300 feet (701 meters) from surface zero. On 17 May, one day after the shot, she was towed into the lagoon and the exterior of her hull was surveyed for damage and distortion. The hull damage appeared relatively minor but the ship was judged to have been immobilized by shock damage to its main and auxiliary equipment. She was thus the one target with significant damage from Wahoo, and tho only repairs made for the Umbrella shot were those necessary to provide power supplies and to ensure safety of the ship and proper operation of scientific equipment.

On 12 June 1958, three days after the 9 June Umbrella shot, Moran was towed to the anchorage inside the lagoon. She was considered unseaworthy for a lengthy tow and on 21 Jun 1958 was sunk in deep water off Ikuren Island, Eniwetok Atoll (not far from surface zero for the Wahoo test) by naval gunfire from many of the ships supporting the tests, USS Collett, Arikara, Cree, Hooper Island, Takelma, Magoffin, and Munsee. An official unclassified report on Operation Hardtack may be found HERE.

Ship Notes:
59YAG 59 (Ex MICHAEL MORAN)3050(ex-MICHAEL MORAN, compl. 28 Aug 1944). Scuttled 21 Jun 1958 off Eniwetok Atoll after use in two Hardtack nuclear tests.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 20 Oct 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021