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Westerdijk

 

A Dutch name that means "western dike."

 

(Freighter: dp. 17,050; l. 475'; b. 55'; dr. 31'9"; s. 14.7 k.; cpl. 52; a. 1 5", 1 4")

 

Westerdijk—a steel-hulled, single-screw cargo vessel built at West Hartlepool, England, by Irvine's Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Ltd.—was completed in 1913 and operated by the Dutch Holland Amerika Lijn inthe transatlantic trade before World War I. The freighter was chartered by the United States Government on 30 March 1918. Westerdijk—listed as Wester-dyk in the 1918 Ship's Data, U.S. Naval Vessels—was designated Id. No. 2514 and commissioned at New York on 27 March 1918, Lt. Comdr. Harold L. Thompson, USNRF, in command.

 

Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS), Westerdijk commenced her first transatlantic cargo-carrying voyage on 9 April, departing New York with a load of general Army cargo. She conducted four voyages in all before the armistice ended World War I on 11 November 1918. Returning in ballast to New York from her fourth voyage, Westerdijk underwent repairs into 1919. She departed New York on 19 January 1919, proceeded via the Panama Canal, and arrived at Rosario, Chile, soon thereafter. Taking on a general commercial cargo, the freighter lifted this load of goods to New York before heading south to load another cargo at New Orleans late in June 1919. There, she took on 8,153 tons of goods consigned to the United States Shipping Board and sailed via Norfolk, Va., to European waters.

 

Westerdijk arrived at Liverpool on 29 July; unloaded her cargo; and sailed for Rotterdam, Holland, on 21 September. Arriving at her prewar home port two days later, the cargo vessel underwent a final inspection and inventory and was decommissioned on 25 September 1919. Simultaneously struck from the Navy list, Westerdijk was returned to her owners, the Holland Amerika Lijn, the same day. Renamed Eschersheim, the freighter soon resumed commercial service under the Dutch flag.