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West Zeda


(Freighter: t. 8,800 (gross); l. 423'9"; b. 54'; dr. 24' ˝" (mean); s. 9 k.; cpl. 90; a. none)


West Zeda—a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built under a United States Shipping Board (USSB) contract at Portland, Oreg., by the Northwest Steel Co.—was completed late in 1918 and taken over by the Navy for operation by the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS); assigned Id. No. 3801; and commissioned on 23 December 1918 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Wash., Lt. Richard Willowden, USNRF, in command.


After trials, West Zeda loaded 7,444 tons of flour earmarked for shipment to the Near East and departed the west coast on 4 January 1919. She transited the Panama Canal and touched briefly at New York and Gibraltar before arriving at Constantinople, Turkey, on 6 March. After discharging her cargo and taking on 1,998 tons of water ballast and a small cargo of medicinal opium, West Zeda sailed for home on 13 April. Sheproceeded through the Strait of Gibraltar and reached New York on 17 May. The freighter was decommissioned at New York on 26 May and simultaneously was struck from the Navy list. She was returned to the USSB the following day.


West Zeda operated under the aegis of the United States Shipping Board into the late 1920's when she was placed in reserve and laid up on the west coast. With the onset of World War II, the ship operated under government ownership—the United States Maritime Commission—until torpedoed and sunk by V-129 off the coast of Venezuela on 22 February 1942