Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Seagull I (Minesweeper No. 30)

1919-1946 

A common shore bird having long wings and webbed feet. See also Sea Gull.

I

(Minesweeper No. 30: displacement 950 (normal); length 187'10"; beam 35'6"; draft 10'4"; complement 78; speed 14 knots; armament 2 3-inch, 2 machine guns; class Lapwing)

The first Seagull (Minesweeper No. 30) was laid down on 15 June 1918 at Morris Heights, N.Y., by the Gas Engine & Power Co. & Charles L. Seabury Co.; launched on 24 December 1918; sponsored by Mrs. C.G. Amory; and commissioned at the New York Navy Yard, Brooklyn, N.Y., on 7 March 1919, Lt. (j.g.) Frank Jurgensen in command.

Following her shakedown that found her performing miscellaneous harbor duty at New York, and towing and convoy duty off the Atlantic Coast, Seagull proceeded to Boston, Mass., whence she sailed for Scotland on 28 June 1919 and duty with the North Sea Minesweeping Detachment. Arriving at Kirkwall on 10 July, she there joined other units already engaged in clearing the waters between Scotland and Norway of the barrage planted during World War I.  Assigned to Division Two of the minesweepers, she spent 22 days in port during her deployment, and 61 days on the minefields.

During the seventh and final sweeping operation, however, Seagull fouled an upper level mine on 3 September 1919, and was countermined directly beneath her bow, the explosion opening seams and allowing her to take on water. Sister ship Eider (Minesweeper No. 17), the flagship of the Second Division, immediately went alongside and “used her wrecking pumps to good advantage,” while Teal (Minesweeper No. 23) and Swallow (Minesweeper No. 4), her division mates, stood by to assist if needed.  

Upon the completion of repairs, Seagull departed the British Isles with other ships of the force; and, after stops at Brest and the Azores, set out to re-cross the Atlantic. En route, however, gales slowed her progress, and the small amount of fuel she had received at Brest ran out, preventing her from maintaining fires under her boilers long enough to operate her radio to acquaint the flagship with her predicament. Fortunately, her engineer officer rose to the occasion, connecting the generator of the ship’s radio to the engine of her motor sailing launch, enabling Seagull to operate her apparatus long enough to call for help. Black Hawk (Id. Nol. 2140) the minesweepers’ repair ship, reversed her course upon her arrival at Bermuda and went to Seagull’s aid, fueling her and enabling her to reach Bermuda on 12 November.

Clearing Bermuda on 15 November 1919, omitting Hampton Roads from their itinerary in order to reach New York City in time for a planned review, the Minesweeping Detachment, by that point split into two detachments by adverse weather, arrived off Tompkinsville, Staten Island, N.Y., on 19 and 20 November, then shifted to the North River, with the ’sweepers anchoring in two columns, where they were reviewed by Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, embarked in Meredith (Destroyer No. 165), on 24 November. The following day, the Detachment was disbanded. Ultimately, Seagull’s commanding officer, Lt. (j.g.) Frank Jorgensen, received the Navy Cross for his “distinguished service in the line of his profession…engaged in the difficult and hazardous duty of sweeping for, and removing, the mines of the North Sea Mine Barrage.”

Seagull, assigned to the Pacific Fleet, proceeded first to Charleston, S.C., for repairs; then, with the New Year 1920, continued on to San Diego, Calif., arriving on 30 January. Designated AM-30 on 17 July 1920, she operated as a unit of the Third Division, Fourth Mine Squadron. Orders to place her out of commission were cancelled on 31 July 1922, and she was assigned to Submarine Division 14. Ordered to Pearl Harbor, T.H., at that point, she steamed to the Hawaiian Islands and took up her new duty as a submarine tender.

There, with only occasional interruptions for inter-island towing and passenger runs, fleet problems, and overhauls during the 20’s and 30’s and to assist in salvage operations at Pearl Harbor after 7 December 1941, she provided services (torpedo recovery, target towing, and escort) until after the close of World War II.

Re-designated twice during the war, to a fleet tug, AT-141, on 1 June 1942 and as a fleet tug (old), ATO-141 on 15 May 1944, Seagull departed Pearl Harbor for the last time in October 1945 and arrived at Mare Island on the 12th to await inactivation. Assigned to Submarine Squadron 3 during the interim, she was decommissioned at Mare Island on 5 September 1946.

Stricken from the Naval Register on 15 October 1946, ex-Seagull was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal on 30 April 1947, and simultaneously delivered at Suisun Bay, Calif., to her purchaser, the Crowley Launch & Tugboat Co., the same day.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

21 April 2017

Published: Fri Apr 21 18:53:22 EDT 2017