Skip to main content
Related Content
  • Boats-Ships--Support Ships
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Spica I (AK-16)

(AK-16: dp. 11,450 (n.); l. 401'0"; b. 54'2"; dr. 24'5 3/16 "; s. 11.5 k.; cpl. 56; a. 2 5", 4 3")

A star of the first magnitude in the constellation Virgo.


Shannock, a cargo ship built in 1919 by American International Shipbuilding Corp. at Hog Island, Pa., was acquired by the Navy from the United States Shipping Board on 16 November 1921 and renamed Spica (AK-16). Over the following 18 years, she remained out of commission (first at New York, then at Charleston, and finally at Philadelphia) from January 1927 until 1 March 1940, when Spica was commissioned at Norfolk, Va., Comdr. E. D. Gibb in command.

By mid-1940, Spica was assigned to the 13th Naval District; and, until late 1943, she sailed Alaskan waters carrying supplies to American outposts on the Alaskan coast and in the Aleutian Islands. During this period, she participated in the campaign to reoccupy Attu. On 24 November 1943, she headed south to San Francisco, whence she departed again on 5 December. Heading via Funafuti, she reached Kwajalein Atoll in January 1944 and returned, via Pearl Harbor, to Seattle on 22 March. For the next six months, Spica resumed her Alaska-Aleutian circuit. In mid-September, she began a series of voyages from the west coast to Hawaii which continued until mid-March 1945. In all, she made four round-trip voyages between Seattle and Oahu. She returned to Seattle on 17 March 1945 and, on 7 April, once again took up the northern Pacific supply runs, completing her last at Seattle on 14 September. In October, she was declared surplus to the needs of the Navy; and, on 18 January 1946, she decommissioned at Seattle. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 7 February 1946, and she was delivered to the Maritime Commission for lay-up pending disposal. On 13 June 1947, her hulk was sold to J. T. Robinson, Ltd., a Canadian firm.

Spica was awarded one battle star during World War II.

Published: Tue Sep 15 14:25:30 EDT 2015