Mission San Francisco
A merchant name retained. A Franciscan mission in colonial California founded In 1776.
(AO‑123: dp. 21,880; l. 524'; b. 68' dr. 30'; s. 16.5 k.; cpl. 52; a. none; cl. Mission Buenaventura; T.T2‑SE‑A2)
Mission San Francisco was laid down 5 May 1945 under a Maritime Commission contract by Marine Ship Corp., Sausalito, Calif.; launched 18 September 1945; sponsored by Mrs. John J. Manning; and delivered 11 October 1945.
Chartered to Deconhill Shipping Co., upon her delivery, for operations, she served until 14 April 1946 when she was returned to the Maritime Commission and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Mobile, Ala.
Acquired by the Navy 28 October 1947, she was placed in service with the Naval Transportation Service as Mission San Francisco (AO‑123). Taken over by the Military Sea Transportation Service on 1 October 1949, she was redesignated USNS Mission San Francisco (T‑AO‑123) and served under MSTS until 18 January 1954, when she was returned to the Maritime Administration and laid up in the Maritime Reserve Fleet at Beaumont, Tex.
Reacquired by the Navy on 20 October 1956, she was once again placed in service with MSTS and chartered to Mathiasens Tanker Industries. Her period of service with MSTS, was short. On 7 March 1957 while passing New Castle, Del., she collided with the Liberian freighter Etna II. The shock of the collision caused Mission San Francisco to catch fire and explode, breaking her in two. The explosion killed 10 men, including her master, Capt. William Allen. Immediately after the collision, Etna II backed off but in her attempts to avoid the burning hulk she ran aground. Due to bad weather, rescue attempts were slow, but all aboard Etna II and the survivors of Mission San Francisco were rescued by the Coast Guard. Declared unsalvageable by the Navy, Mission San Francisco was struck from the U.S. Naval Vessel Register 20 March 1957.