IMO : 6507921
Build : 1965 by Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp – Pascagoula, Mississippi in the USA, no 487 as Mormacdraco
I can actually hear you thinking now: has SeaBart lost his mind in the few months before while he wasn’t posting, that ship does not look ugly at all, she is a classic. And my answer is: no & yes…I haven’t lost my mind & indeed she has a nice classic look. But bear with me: I’m a professional, I know what I’m doing!
The above picture is how she looked in the early stages of her life. Then in 1976 the rigmarole started: she was lengthened by 115 foot (approx. 35m) and a set of dual cranes were added to this new section.
And the (as we see them now) classical lines were abruptly broken by a modernish pair of cranes & cargosection. And she immediately lost a lot of good looks.
In the later stages of her Merchant Navy career she was converted to carry containers……these boxy things didn’t add anything to her looks either.
And then in 1987 the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) got her hands on her and they went berserk, calling her the SS Beaver State (ACS-10) she was converted but only a little bit.
Oh dear……that conversion made her looks go south again. Who thought fitting those big cranes on a classic liner was a good idea?
She was then added to the US Reserve Fleet and placed under control of the Military Sealift Command (MSC), berthed in a dark obscure port and was maintained in a five-day readiness status. Doesn’t bode well, does it?
But then in 2009 a boffin somewhere thought of a purpose for her in her old days: she became the SS Pacific Tracker (XTR-1) and was converted to an X-Band Transportable Radar Ship to perform missions supporting the US Missile Defense Agency. And this is how she looks now (at least those awfully big cranes have taken a hike) :
But what’s up with that giant golf ball on her aft deck?
Yup…..looks gone bad beyond any chance for redemption. On the other hand: she is still afloat & working after 41 years but I wonder: is that what you want. I think it’s the same as giving a 80-year old women breast implants and have her dance the Lambada all day long. Not a good way to grow old.
And I hope you now see that I haven’t lost my mind (completely)
Thanks to themaritimeblog.com for the inspiration & a lot of the info.
Al Gilles from Portland, Oregon was so kind to send me the below picture which he took of the Pacific Tracker on 17-08-2011 while she was being moored at her berth. This picture shows some of the ugliness that was apparent in the above posted pics. It’s a good picture but it makes the Pacific Tracker look even worse!
Al: thanks for sharing the picture!