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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Saetia

 

(Steamer: displacement 6,375; 1ength 322'; beam 48'3"; draft 19'; speed 11 knots; complement 81; armament 1 5",1 6-pounder)

 

The steel-hulled steam cargo ship Colorado, under construction for the Mallory Steamship Line at Wilmington, Del., by Harlan and Hollingsworth, was requisitioned on the building ways by the Emergency Fleet Corp., U.S. Shipping Board. Inspected by the Navy on 8 February 1918 and earmarked for service as a depot collier, the ship was renamed Saetia to avoid confusion with the name assigned to the future Battleship No.45, and given the identification number (Id. No.) 2317. Saetia was commissioned as a Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) vessel on 1 March 1918 at Philadelphia, Pa., Lt. Comdr. William A. Hogan, USNRF, in command.

 

Following a period of repairs that included the installation of her battery, Saetia, her holds loaded with a full cargo of quartermaster supplies, sailed for New York City on 14 March 1918, where she joined a convoy that departed for France on 16 March. After the convoy arrived at Brest on the last day of March, Saetia steamed on to Rochefort, unloaded her cargo, and then joined a convoy for Philadelphia. Arriving at her destination in ballast on 3 May, she underwent minor repairs and then moved up the coast to join her second European-bound convoy, that got underway on 17 May and arrived at Quiberon to discharge cargo and load ballast on 1 June. Saetia returned to Philadelphia on 2 July; and, after repairs at Cramp Shipbuilding Co., during which time she also loaded general cargo and ammunition, she steamed to New York on the 15th. Picking up a convoy on 24 July, she delivered her goods at Gironde on 11 August and sailed for Philadelphia at the end of the month.

 

Saetia, army supplies in her holds, again joined a European-bound convoy out of New York on 22 September 1918, bound for Brest. Arriving at her destination on 7 October, she steamed on to Bordeaux, discharged her cargo, and then sailed for Philadelphia in ballast on the 24th. She never reached home. At 8:30 a.m. on 9 November 1918, just two days before the Armistice, Saetia -- Lt. Comdr. Walter S. Lynch in command -- struck a mine (most likely laid by the German submarine U-117 between 8 August and 1 September 1918) abreast her number 3 hold, and sank 10 miles south-southeast of Fenwick Island Lightship in about 20 fathoms of water. All hands survived, although 13 men suffered injuries. Sixty-six men abandoned ship in four lifeboats, the remainder (19) took to two life rafts. The former group landed at Ocean City, at Coast Guard Station No. 146; steamship Kennebec picked up the latter group and put them ashore safely at Cape May, N.J.


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Corrected and expanded, Robert J. Cressman, 22 March 2007.