WITH REFERENCE TO MR DAWSON’S LETTER in the December issue of Sea Breezes, there were two classes of standard ships built during World War Two and designated as ‘Ocean’, one a dry cargo series, the other a tanker series. The Cargo ‘Oceans’ were built in the US by the Todd-Bath SB Corp, Portland and the Permanente Metals Corp, Richmond, California, and the design was based on the plans of the Dorrington Court, built by J L Thompson in 1938, but with less beam.

The first ‘Ocean’, the Ocean Vanguard was launched on 16 August 1941 at Richmond and completed in October; the forerunner of 60 ships in total. They were 441' 6" overall length, 57' 0" beam, gross tonnage 7,174 and a deadweight of 10,500 tons, speed 11 knots. None of them were converted to tankers. The ‘Parks’ were all built in Canada. Of the 176 ships, 156 were dry cargo ships, and 20 were tankers.

The other ‘Ocean’ class consisted of tankers. They were based on a ‘Shell’ design which was sometimes known as the ‘Three Twelves’ type, the ships being of 12,000 deadweight, a speed of 12 knots and a fuel consumption of 12 tons a day. 32 ships were built at various UK yards, and a further 10 completed for the Admiralty as the ‘Dale’ class. They had a length of 463', beam 61', gross tonnage 8,100. The Empire Gem, one of the ‘Ocean’ class tankers, was built by Harland & Wolff at Govan, launched 29 May 1941 and completed in September. She had a very short life, being torpedoed by U-66 off the Virginia Capes, USA on 24 January 1942.


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