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Zeppelin (Id. No. 4042)


The Navy retained the name carried by this vessel at the time of her acquisition.

(Id. No. 4042: displacement 21,753; length between perpendiculars 550'; beam 67.2; draft 26'6"; speed 15.5 knots)

Zeppelin, a twin-screw passenger and cargo steamship constructed in 1914-1915 by Bremer Vulkan at Vegesack, Germany, for the North German Lloyd Line, was seized by United States officials at New York, N.Y., soon after the country's entry into the Great War [World War I] and turned over to the Emergency Fleet Corporation.

The Navy did not acquire her until the spring of 1919, well after the end of hostilities. Given the identification number (Id. No.) 4042, Zeppelin was commissioned at New York on 5 March 1919, Cmdr. William W. Galbraith in command.

Assigned to the New York Division of the Transport Force, Zeppelin made two round-trip voyages between the United States and Europe, returning 15,800 American soldiers back home. Her third voyage took her back to Europe.

Decommissioned on 25 November 1919, Zeppelin was returned that same day to the United States Shipping Board which, in turn, transferred her to the British on 27 December 1919. Acquired by the Orient Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., in 1920, Zeppelin was renamed Ormuz and served under that name until purchased by the North German Lloyd Line in 1927 and renamed Dresden.

On 20 June 1934, Dresden struck a rock off Kopervik, on the Norwegian island of Karmoy. Beached near Blikshavn as a precaution, the German vessel began listing alarmingly to port, however, prompting the removal of passengers (one perished in the evolution) to the Danish merchantman Konig Haakon early the following day. Norwegian ships Konig Harald, Kronprinsesse Martha, Kvitsoy and Stavanger, and the French inspection vessel Ardente, aided in the rescue operations as well, saving 323 crew and 975 passengers; only four people lost their lives all told.

Norwegian shipbreakers from Stavanger subsequently dismantled the ship in situ, but some wreckage still remains in those waters.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

21 March 2024

Published: Mon Mar 25 17:03:15 EDT 2024