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Bay Spring

The Navy retained the name assigned to the ship before her acquisition.

(AT 60: dp. 775; l. 150'; b. 27'6"; dr. 14'1"; cpl. 30)

Bay Spring--a single screw, steel hulled tug built in 1920 at Providence, R.I., by the Providence Engineering Works--was acquired by the Navy from the United States Shipping Board (USSB) on 28 September 1921; classified an ocean-going tug; designated AT 60; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard on 10 November 1921, Lt. Frederick Muller in command.

Departing New York on 16 December 1921, Bay Spring sailed for Key West, Fla., and arrived at the naval station there five days later. For almost five years, the tug operated from Key West carrying out a variety of towing assignments.

On 13 December 1923, Bay Spring, with the decommissioned Eagle 43 (PE-43) and Eagle 53 (PE-53) in tow, sailed from Pensacola for Key West. The following day (14 December), however, at a point about 110 miles south of Pensacola, the line to her charges parted, followed soon thereafter by her propeller becoming disabled, thus rendering her incapable of retrieving her tows, which began to drift away. Eagle 43 had a three-man towing crew on board, with a limited supply of fresh water and provisions. Upon receipt of the report of the mishap, the tug Allegheny (AT-19) and Coast Guard Cutter Tallapoosa sailed from Pensacola; ships left from Key West and Tampa the next day (15 December) to join in the search. Tallapoosa found the disabled Bay Spring and took her in tow, but the drifting Eagles, one with her three-man caretaker crew subsisting on dwindling rations, defied detection. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, sent out two planes on 16 December to find the missing patrol vessels; a four-plane search went out the next day. One of the seaplanes located the Eagles, landed, and embarked the three sailors from Eagle 43

Bay Spring later participated in unsuccessful attempts to salvage the gunboat Tacoma (PG 32), which had grounded on Blanquilla Reef near Veracruz, Mexico, on 16 January 1924 and then, while stranded, been wrecked by a “norther” (a storm of terrific intensity) a few days later.

Transferred to the 4th Naval District in the summer of 1926, Bay Spring reached Philadelphia on 15 August 1926. She was decommissioned there on 23 November of the same year.

On 7 October 1940, her name was cancelled, and she was redesignated as a non self propelled gate craft, YNG 19, and delivered to the Kensington Shipyard and Drydock Co., of Philadelphia, two days later, to begin conversion. Upon completion of that work, the newly configured district craft was towed back to the Philadelphia Navy Yard and was placed in service on the last day of January 1941. Assigned to duty with the local defense forces of the 4th Naval District, YNG 19 operated as a gate vessel for the boom defenses approximately 50 miles off the Delaware Capes, until reassigned to the 1st Naval District on 1 December 1942. Towed to her new duty station by Wandank (AT 26), YNG 19 performed her work at Boston until placed out of service on 25 August 1944. Her alphanumeric name was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 16 September 1944, and she was delivered to the War Shipping Administration on 3 May 1946. She was sold to the Barnett Shipping Co., of Battery Place, New York City.

Robert J. Cressman

28 February 2006