Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Marengo (AK-194)


A county in west‑central Alabama.

(AK‑194: displacement 7,450 (limiting); length 338'6"; beam 50'; draft 21'1" (limiting); speed 11.5 knots; complement 85; armament 1 3-inch, 6 20 millimeter; class Alamosa; type C1‑M‑AV1)

Marengo (AK‑194) was laid down under a Maritime Commission contract (M.C. Hull 2125) on Independence Day [4 July] 1944 at Superior, Wisc., by Walter Butler Shipbuilders, Inc.; launched on 4 December 1944; sponsored by Mrs. R. W. Higgins; and completed at the building yard on 12 April 1945, less than a month before hostilities ended in the European Theater. Departing that day, Marengo proceeded under a ferry crew, Lt. John J. Tronolone (D), USNR, in charge, to Chicago, Ill., arriving there on the 15th. Dismantled by Associated Shipbuilders to prepare for the journey, via inland waterways, to New Orleans, La., the vessel arrived at her destination on 21 June 1945. One week later, Marengo reached Beaumont, Texas, where she was reassembled, and ultimately accepted by the Navy at 11:00 a.m. on 24 August 1945. She was placed in service on 24 August, then placed out of service at 29 August, upon arrival at Galveston, Texas, a little over a fortnight after hostilities ceased in the Pacific Theater.

At Todd Galveston Dry Docks, Inc., Marengo received a drydocking and underwent repairs and alterations (21-27 September 1945) that included removal of the ship’s 3-inch and 20 millimeter batteries. Shortly after that yard period began [22 September], Lt. H. Waddell, Marengo’s prospective commanding officer, estimated that the ship’s commissioning would occur on 2 October 1945 based upon the rate at which the ship’s company was being formed and the assembly of outfit and stores was proceeding. Within a week’s time, however, a restricted dispatch from the office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) (R-281645 of September 1945) directed that Marengo not be placed in commission but that Commandant Eighth Naval District return the vessel to the Maritime Commission. The next day, a Commander in Chief U.S. Fleet (ComInCh) Confidential dispatch (C-291817 of September 1945) cancelled Marengo’s assignment to the Pacific Fleet.

Marengo was returned to the War Shipping Administration and redelivered to the Maritime Commission on 23 November 1945, and was stricken from the Navy Register on 5 December 1945.

Delivered to the North Atlantic & Gulf Steamship Co. under a general agency agreement at 11:00 a.m. on 23 November 1945, the ship, renamed Coastal Spartan, was later transferred to the same firm at New York, N.Y., under an interim bareboat charter on 23 May 1946. Under a Maritime Commission bare boat charter executed at Savannah, Ga., on 6 September 1946 Coastal Spartan remained with the North Atlantic & Gulf Steamship Co., until being briefly transferred to the South Atlantic Steamship Line under a general agency agreement at Savannah at noon on 13 April 1948.

Entering the Maritime Commission’s Reserve Fleet at Wilmington, N.C., at 3:15 p.m. on 22 April 1948, Coastal Spartan remained there for over 12 years. Advertised for sale as a scrap hull on 2 September 1960, the ship attracted no bidders on 30 September. Re-advertised on 26 May 1965, Coastal Spartan was purchased “for non-transportation use” by Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, Md., on 23 June 1965. Removed from the Wilmington group of the Reserve Fleet, the ship began her voyage to Baltimore, towed by the tugs R. R. Stone and Christine Moran, at 2:50 p.m. on 19 July 1965.  Subsequently, however, Coastal Spartan was sold to Storm Drilling Co. on 17 December 1971 and converted into a dredge, and was renamed Ocean Cyclone.

The documentary trail picks up again 18 years later, when Public Law 100-92 103 Stat. 602 of 16 August 1989 authorized the U.S. Coast Guard to issue a certificate of documentation for the motor vessel (MV) Northern Victor (ex-Ocean Cyclone, ex-Coastal Spartan) “to acquire, purchase, process and transport fish and fish products in the fisheries of the U.S.” On 19 October 1990, approval was granted to transfer Northern Victor from Seafood Wholesalers, Inc., La Jolla, Calif., to Northern Victor Partnership of Seattle, Washington.

Robert J. Cressman

10 April 2017



Published: Mon Apr 10 23:38:02 EDT 2017