SuluSea -> RE: Artwork Request (9/30/2012 5:22:36 PM)
In the PDF on USCG.mil that I believe Don's picture is from states...
EVOLUTION OF THE 133-FOOT SELF-PROPELLED FREIGHT AND AMMUNITION LIGHTERS
The huge amounts of supplies shipped from United States ports
during the Second World War required the augmentation,
overhaul, and wholesale replacement of much of America’s
transportation infrastructure. Harbors and waterways were
recognized as potential bottlenecks in the transportation
system. Not only ships were needed, but also new piers,
warehouses, and harbor craft. Hundreds of barges and lighters
were built to speed the flow of cargoes being transhipped in
ports around the country. Like other critical parts of the
transportation network, barges for use in transhipping cargoes
were also upgraded and improved as time went on. One
important link in the supply chain was made up of special
covered barges for freight and ammunition, called lighters.
Experience taught that delays in delivering loaded lighters kept
the cargo from arriving where needed, and tied up a scarce
transportation vehicle, the lighter itself. To avoid these delays,
wartime speed and efficiency demanded that many lighters be
made self-propelling to avoid waiting for a tugboat to become
One of the most numerous type of self-propelled lighters were
“133-foot” vessels built by manufacturing concerns around the
country. The U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships drew up specifications
for building freight and ammunition lighters (self-propelled).
1. The requirements called for a vessel similar to the very best of
small self-propelled commercial lighters in use at the time.
Some changes were made to outfit the lighters for military
service. Each ship had to be capable of worldwide service, so
full sets of navigational instruments were delivered with each
vessel. Naval duty also called for a full set of fire-fighting and
damage control gear. Reserve buoyancy was increased by
adding an enclosed forecastle and enlarging the deckhouse.
2. Shallow draft allowed access to inner harbors and to load and
transport supplies to large vessels at anchor.
Because of the full employment of most experienced shipyards,
contracts to build these vessels were awarded to inexperienced
contractors. Erie Concrete and Steel Supply of Erie, Pennsylvania,
had never built a ship when they won a contract to build
several lighters. Basalt Rock Company of Napa, California,
had built only unpowered steel barges when they won a contract
for two Navy lighters. They seriously underestimated the cost
of their first contract, but went on to build YF self-powered
lighters, other smaller types, and became the lead yard for
salvage ships (ARS).3
The specifications called for twin-screw, Diesel-driven, steel,
self-propelled freight lighters similar to YF-257, with some
modifications. YF-257 had been built at Norfolk Navy Shipyard
in early 1940 and launched June 29, 1940. The Boston Navy
Yard built a sister ship YF-258, launched August 22, 1940.
Norfolk Navy Yard also built another of the same type the next
year. The main hoist consisted of a single mast and boom
powered by an electric winch mounted on the working deck.
The deckhouse did not extend to the sides, and the forecastle
was much smaller than that on the later 133-foot self-propelled
ammunition lighters. The principal dimensions for the 133-foot
self-propelled lighters were:
Length, overall,132 feet, 6 inches long
Length, between perpendiculars,132 feet
Breadth, extreme, molded, 30 feet
Depth, molded at side to main deck, amidships, 12 feet,
3 11/16 inches
Diesel oil, full capacity (estimated), 33.5 tons
Potable water, full capacity (estimated), 10.0 tons
They drew about 8 feet, 9 inches of water at maximum loading.
The class was propelled by twin screws each powered by a
600 BHP Diesel engine. The maximum sustained speed was
10.5 knots giving a 2,450 mile radius of action, or 7.5 knots
giving a 2,830 radius. The ships were built of steel except within
a five foot radius of the steering compass, where they were
built of brass. The hull was broad, nearly flat-bottomed, with a
raised enclosed forecastle deck and a raised deckhouse
extending from side to side nearly to the stern. The wide flat
bottoms, combined with bilge keels, provided a stable platform
during lifting operations.