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Trefoil II (IX-149)


While the first Trefoil retained the name she carried at the time of her acquisition, the second was named to perpetuate the name of the Civil War vessel.


(IX-149: displacement 10,960 (full load); length 366'4"; beam 54'0”; complement 54; armament 1 40-millimeter; class Midnight; type B7-D1)

The non-self-propelled, concrete-hulled cargo barge Midnight (IX-149) was laid down on 4 September 1943 at South San Francisco, Calif., by the Barrett, Hilp & Belair Shipyard, under a Maritime Commission contract (M.C. Hull 1329); launched on 22 November 1943; and was delivered to the Maritime Commission on 5 March 1944 and acquired by the Navy the same day [5 March 1944]; and placed in service on 9 March 1944, Lt. Neal King, D-V(S),USNR, officer-in-charge.

Midnight completed conversion for Navy use on 28 March 1944 and was assigned to the Service Force, Pacific Fleet. That same day, she was towed out of San Francisco on her way to the Central Pacific. After a stop at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, she continued her voyage and arrived in Majuro Lagoon on 4 May. For the next five months, she served at Majuro and Eniwetok. During that time, she was renamed Trefoil on 10 June 1944.

On 5 October 1944, the salvage vessel Current (ARS-22) towed her out of Eniwetok and on to Ulithi, in the Carolines, where she arrived on the 16th. She remained there for ten months on duty with Service Squadron 8. In August 1945, she was towed from Ulithi to Leyte in the Philippines where she arrived on the 28th. Trefoil remained there until 9 November, when she was towed out for Guam in the Marianas. The barge reached Apra Harbor on the 16th.

Trefoil served at Guam for the remainder of her Navy career. Early in 1946, she was chosen as one of the support ships for Operation Crossroads, the atomic bomb tests conducted at Bikini Atoll that summer. However, soon thereafter, that decision was rescinded and another made to dispose of her. Action on that decision was also deferred, and she was used to house Stockton-Pollack employees building a dry dock in Apra Harbor. Her reprieve ended in September 1947 when she was determined to be in excess of the needs of the Navy. On 28 May 1948, the barge was turned over to the Foreign Liquidations Commission of the State Department for disposal; and she was sold to the Asia Development Corp. of Shanghai, China. Her name was struck from the Navy list on 22 December 1948.

The barge, however, remained at Apra Harbor because she was impounded due to a dispute over ownership of the vessel between the Asia Development Corp. and Moellers Ltd., of Hong Kong. Though the resolution of the dispute and final disposition of the barge is unknown, all available Navy records name the Asia Development Corp. as her rightful owner.

Updated, Robert J. Cressman

5 August 2022

Published: Sat Aug 06 22:59:51 EDT 2022