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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Southern Seas

 

(PY-32: dp. 1,116 (f.); l. 228'0"; b. 31'3"; dr. 14'3" (mean); s. 11 k.; cpl. 47)

 

Southern Seas (PY-32)-a motor yacht constructed at New York City in 1920-was built as Lyndonia for Mr. Cyrus Curtiss by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Co. In 1939, the ship was purchased by the Pan American Aviation Co. and renamed Southern Seas. She subsequently plied the waters of the South Pacific, supplementing Pan American's passenger service.

 

At the outbreak of war between the United States and Japan in December 1941, the Army purchased Southern Seas and used her as a troop transport. While on an island-charting assignment for the Army, Southern Seas struck an uncharted reef near New Caledonia; and both of her engine rooms were flooded. The Navy salvaged the ship and towed her to New Zealand, where her hull was patched and her engines were repaired. Southern Seas was officially acquired by the Navy on 23 December 1942, and she was commissioned on that day, Lt. Comdr. Albert L. McMullen in command.

 

She remained at Auckland, New Zealand, serving as quarters ship for transient sailors, until 12 January 1943. She then sailed back to New Caledonia for duty as quarters ship: at Noumea until June,, when she headed via Funafuti to the Gilbert Islands. At Tarawa, she again became a floating hotel and provided accommodations to officers and civilian officials. In February 1944, Southern Seas moved again—this time to Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands where she served as quarters ship for transient officers. On 25 June 1944, the former yacht got underway from Kwajalein and arrived at Eniwetok Atoll two days later.

 

In early August, she sailed to the Marianas and provided quarters at Saipan for transient sailors and soldiers. On 1 January 1945, Southern Seas shifted south to Guam, where she reported to the Commander, Submarines, Pacific Fleet.

 

Hostilities in the Pacific ended on 15 August 1945 while Southern Seas was still at Guam. On 7 September, she was ordered to Okinawa to be stationed at the Naval Operating Base located there. She arrived at Okinawa on 15 September and was greeted by a typhoon. A little less than a month later, on 9 October 1945, another typhoon struck and sank Southern Seas with the loss of 13 members of her crew. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 24 October 1945.

 

Southern Seas earned one battle star during World War II.