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Sea Rover (S. P. 1014)


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

(S. P. 1014: tonnage 199 (gross register); length 121'0"; breadth on load waterline 24'6"; draft 14'0" (mean); speed 10.0 knots; complement 20; armament 1 3-inch, 2 machine guns)

Sea Rover, a single-screw tug built in 1902 at San Francisco, Calif., by the Fulton Iron Works, was purchased by the U.S. Navy with an eye towards her serving as a minesweeper, on 11 December 1917 through the United States Shipping Board from the Shipowners & Merchants Tugboat Co., San Francisco, and, assigned the identification number S. P. 1014, was commissioned on 31 January 1918, Lt. (j.g.) Frank M. Cook, USNRF, in command.

Sea Rover sailed from Mare Island on 11 February 1918 towing three barges to the Atlantic coast. She underwent repairs at Norfolk, Va., and served briefly as station tug at New London, Ct., before arriving at Bermuda on 18 May 1918 to serve in the same capacity there.

As her machinery was considered too unreliable for convoy work, Sea Rover remained at Bermuda for over a year, primarily engaged in towing in the harbor and near the islands. However, on 2 September 1918, Sea Rover sailed to escort Barry (Coast Torpedo Vessel No. 2) to Charleston, S. C. Barry released the tug on 3 September and directed her to return to Bermuda; but, on the following day, Sea Rover ran into a hurricane. During the next two days, the ship cracked a seam in a fuel tank, developed a severe list which caused her to send an SOS, and finally took refuge in the Bahamas on 7 September. Bermuda did not hear of her arrival there and, after an unsuccessful search, reported her lost at sea on 9 September. Sea Rover later underwent repairs at Jacksonville, Fla., and returned to Bermuda on 14 October, assigned to the Patrol Force.

Sea Rover again left Bermuda on 10 May 1919 to escort 40 submarine chasers to Charleston, but arrived there herself on the end of a towline due to a boiler failure. She returned to duty at Bermuda on 10 June, but was detached from duty there on 1 July. Departing Bermuda on 14 July, she towed a gunnery target to the west coast and arrived at San Francisco on 27 September. There she was drydocked and then laid up in reserve with a caretaker crew. 

Designated as an ocean-going tug, AT-57, on 1 July 1920, Sea Rover was decommissioned on 4 March 1921. Stricken from the Navy Register effective the date of her final sale, she was sold on 25 February 1922 to R. W. Greene of San Francisco. She then remained in service with the Shipowners & Merchants Tugboat Co., employed In "harbor and coast towing" until taken out of service and broken up for scrap in 1949 by the Learner Company, of Oakland, California.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

15 May 2024

Published: Wed May 15 12:13:45 EDT 2024