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Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
  • World War I 1917-1918
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Panama (S. P. 101)

1917-1920

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

(S. P. 101: tonnage 78 (gross register); length 78'0" (overall); beam 21'0"; draft 4'0"; speed 9.5 knots (maximum), 8.5 knots (cruising); complement 17; armament  1 3-pounder, 1 machine gun)

Panama, a wooden-hulled, single-screw motor boat built in 1914 by Luther Finder, Key West, Fla., was acquired by the Navy from the Miami & Nassau Passenger Line, Miami, Fla. on 29 April 1917 and commissioned on 26 May 1917.

In merchant service, Panama had laid cable for Western Union in and around Key West. During her Naval career, she operated out of the Seventh Naval District, headquartered at Key West. Patrolling in and around this port, she occasionally operated in Caribbean waters.

While returning from the Canal Zone, Panama sighted two possible U-boats on her port bow on 24 August 1918. She pursued them until dark, despite heavy weather which prevented a surface attack.

After the Great War [World War I] Panama was transferred to the Department of Agriculture on 4 November 1920.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

14 February 2024

Published: Wed Feb 14 11:32:04 EST 2024