Navy retained the name carried by the ship before her
220; length 109'6"; beam 24'7"; draft 10'9" (mean); speed 11 knots; armament 1
3", 2 machine guns)
formerly the steam tug
Jack T. Scully of the Neptune Line, New York City, was built in 1899 by
A. C. Brown, Tottenville, Staten Island, N.Y.
Considered “strongly built” and a “good sea boat” for potential employment as a
minesweeper, Mariner was delivered to the Navy on 25 September 1917.
Earmarked “for distant service” on 1 October 1917 and given the designation
SP-1136, she was commissioned at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., on 19 December 1917, Lt. (jg.) Martin Miller, USNRF in command.
Initially, Mariner performed routine duty at the New
York Navy Yard and in the waters of New York harbor. Following that period of
local work, she got underway on 6 February 1918 in company with converted yachts Yacona (SP-917) and Wadena (SP-158), bound for New
London, Connecticut. The little convoy proceeded uneventfully until increasingly
heavy ice floes began to impede their progress. Mariner took Wadena in
tow, getting her through one congested area and then dropping the tow when
clear. When Wadena again ran into difficulty, Mariner took the
yacht in tow, until forced to stop (Yacona then
took Wadena in tow for a time) when the ice in Long Island Sound smashed
in some of her timbers, compelling Lt.(jg) Miller to
order the tug beached at New London to facilitate repairs. Once again seaworthy,
Mariner steamed up Narragansett Bay to the coaling station at Melville, R.I., where she
helped Yacona get underway for Newport during the
afternoon watch on 23 February, then proceeded to assist the section patrol boat
Alpha (SP-586) that had suffered a fire at Melville later that same day.
Mariner then shifted to Newport.
Mariner got underway for Bermuda on 24 February 1918 in company with Yacona and Wadena and the tug Lykens (SP-876), and then rendezvoused with eleven 110-foot submarine chasers soon
thereafter. The French tug Mohican brought up the rear. As the convoy worked its way down the eastern
seaboard, however, Mariner fell progressively astern. She briefly
towed the submarine chaser SC-177
before the tug herself began to founder in the heavy southwesterly gale that
sprang up on 26 February. Her seams
opened to the sea by the pounding of the waves, her pumps failed; rising water
doused the fires under her boilers and rendered her
hoisted the breakdown flag
shortly before the end of the forenoon watch and cast loose
SC-177. Soon thereafter, at
the start of the afternoon watch, Mariner, in extremis,
signaled: “We are sinking fast.”
Wadena stood by to render assistance, the sea “very rough and running high.” After
embarking two increments of the doomed tug’s crew from life rafts, Wadena
sprayed oil on the water to calm
the seas, and then brought on board
the rest of Mariner’s entire complement from three more rafts, the last, its occupants
having abandoned the tug, decks awash, reaching the yacht’s side a half hour before the end of the first dog watch with Lt. (jg.) Miller,
Mariner’s commanding officer, on board. Abandoned, Mariner sank sometime after 9:45
p.m. that day at approximately 38º26'N, 68º 9'W.
While the rest of the
convoy continued on its passage,
Wadena retrieved SC-177 and ultimately reached the British naval station at Hamilton, Bermuda, on 1 March 1918.
Mariner was stricken from the Navy
Register on 8 March 1918.
Robert J. Cressman
13 July 2006