Re: S.S. Utahan
Posted by Ron Carlson on November 7, 2016, 9:29 am, in reply to "S.S. Utahan"
UTAHAN was built by Skinner & Eddy Corp. in Seattle, Washington, and completed in December 1919; her original name was CROSSKEYS. Her original owner was the U.S. Shipping Board, a federal agency that commissioned ships for World War I service and later for an anticipated postwar shipping boom. The Oceanic & Oriental Navigation Co. purchased her in 1928 and renamed her GOLDEN PEAK. In 1937, she was renamed UTAHAN. In 1951, she was purchased by East & West Shipping Company and renamed FUTURA. She was broken up at Karachi, Pakistan, in October 1960. (Extracted from several sources, including http://shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/emergencylarge/skinnereddy.htm; see hull number 72, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skinner_%26_Eddy, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_%26_West_Steamship_Company.)
Most of UTAHAN’s commercial service prior to World War II was in shipping between the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India and as far as Bahrain. Most of her World War II service was in the Atlantic and Caribbean. However, I did find a record for the voyage that doubtlessly included the crossing of the International Date Line in July 1945. On this voyage, UTAHAN departed San Francisco on or about June 20, 1945. She reached Noumea, New Caledonia, which is west of the International Date Line, on August 16, 1945. She arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 4, 1945. These dates and locations agree with your information that she crossed the International Date Line on July 8.
A series of photographs of shipboard scenes aboard SS UTAHAN are found at http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/ship,utahan/, apparently on a voyage to Africa sometime in 1945. On this voyage her cargo included horses, as seen in one photograph. I have not found additional detail about this voyage, including dates. This photographs incorrectly identifies her as “USS” UTAHAN. USS means United States Ship and is reserved for commissioned warships in the U.S. Navy. Her correct designation was SS UTAHAN, SS meaning steam ship.
I hope this is useful.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard / Merchant Marine website