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The Elizabeth Watts departed the Philadelphia docks on Nov

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1 The Elizabeth Watts departed the Philadelphia docks on Nov
The Elizabeth Watts departed the Philadelphia docks on Nov. 19, 1861, and arrived at London's Victoria Dock 45 days later. It took twelve days to unload the 1,329 barrels of oil. Just a year later, the Port of Philadelphia exported 239,000 barrels of oil – still without the technology of railroad tank cars or "tanker" ships designed for the purpose. From: The American Oil and Gas Historical Society Oil Tanker History Late in 1861, in a dim office somewhere in Philadelphia, an anonymous clerk dipped his pen in ink and, quite unknowingly, wrote the first chapter in the history of oil tankers. The brig Elizabeth Watts, he wrote, had recently sailed for England carrying 224 tons of a substance called petroleum. From: Saudi Aramco World

2 The tanker industry was 120 years old in 2006 and both the fleet and the volume of oil transported worldwide by these highly specialized vessels have grown dramatically since the first tanker set sail in The increase in size of the cargo ship during the second half of the 19th Century was not as spectacular as the growth of the passenger liner - but grew and specialize they did. The 2700-ton GLUCKAUF, built in Britain, became the world's first true oil tanker, with separate tanks for the oil built into her hull. Gluckauf had a bulkhead along her centerline, and further transverse bulkheads to divide her cargo space into eight tanks. Above the tanks was a trunk to allow cargo to expand. A pump room separated her tanks from the engine room. The engines were placed right aft and she had a navigational bridge almost amidships. She was the first ship to place engines astern. Tankers like Gluckauf loaded deeply, and at sea waves would often wash right across their decks. Until her appearance, oil had previously been shipped in barrels or drums. Now it could be pumped directly into the ships tanks. With the Gluckauf the vessel hull itself became the oil container. This started a new trade which, would grow enormously over the years. Apart from increased size, tanker design has largely followed that of Gluckauf ever since. Ironically, Gluckauf means "lucky" in German, but then all ships eventually come to an end. Her career was short lived. On March 25, 1893 she ran aground on Fire Island, New York and could not be refloated. The remains of her hull can still be seen, just off what is a popular fishing beach. From:

3 The tank steamship, for carrying oil in bulk, was an American invention. Shipbuilders declared for years that no vessel with a shifting cargo, like oil in bulk, would live through a gale, but an enterprising Yankee demonstrated the fact that petroleum could be pumped from the pipe line directly into the hold of a steamship and transported across the ocean in safety. The cost of barreling the oil is saved, and there was also considerable economy in loading. The tank steamship of 1890 could always be distinguished by her odd appearance, the funnel being placed a little forward of the mizzenmast. She has two decks; the hold is divided into from 7 to 9 compartments or tanks for oil; each tank has a capacity of about 4,000 barrels. An empty space of about two feet, called a safety well, is forward of the boilers and engines, separating them from the cargo hold. This empty space, which has a bulkhead on each side, is sometimes filled with water. The depth of the tanks or hold of the typical tank steamship of 1890 was about 24 feet. On the top of these tanks are expansion tanks, about 5 feet square, reaching to the upper deck, and provided with hatches. The tanks are filled quite full, but sufficient space is left unfilled in the expansion tanks to allow for the expansion of the oil, which is one per cent in volume for every 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The tanks are filled by means of a very powerful pump, situated at varying distances, from a few yards to one-eighth of a mile from the ship. The greatest care is taken in loading the vessel. A man with a flag is stationed on the ships deck, and another man with a flag is placed at the tank. The signal to start and to stop pumping is passed from one to the other. The largest vessel can be filled in about 12 hours. The balance of space between decks is used for storing coal, the ships fuel. When the cargo is discharged in Europe the tanks are filled with water ballast for the return trip. Some of these 1890 steamships had been very lucky in picking up disabled passenger steamships, which, of course, meant a substantial salvage. There were about 70 of these tank steamships in the trade by 1891, the majority of which were employed by the Standard Oil Company and their connections, and new ones are being constantly added to meet the increasing trade. They were all under foreign flags. English, German, and Dutch but the Standard Oil Company owned a large interest in them.

4 These 1890 steamships were all supplied with triple expansion engines, and were capable of maintaining a speed of from 8 to 11 knots per hour on the small coal consumption of about 25 tons for each 24 hours. As of 1891 the Bayonne was the fastest; she made the trip from England to New York in 11 days, averaging knots per hour. They averaged from 2,000 to 3,000 tons gross, and carried from 3,000 to 4,000 tons of cargo. Aft of the engine-room is the cabin and officers quarters, which are comfortable in every particular. The crew is located in the forecastle, as is usual on all vessels. The crew number about 30, all told. The tanker industry saw significant technological advancements since Vessels have increased dramatically in size and carrying capacity and they have progressed from coal-fired engines via steam-turbines to diesel engines. Demand for oil was encouraged by the invention in 1897 of the Diesel engine, which used oil as a fuel rather than coal. Within a few years, marine diesel engines were being built-in and by 1911, the first diesel powered ship crossed the Atlantic. By 1927 some 28% of the world merchant fleet used oil for power. During the next few decades, oil replaced coal as a source of energy and tankers soon formed a major portion of the world fleet. Until 1950, however, most of them were designed to carry petroleum and other refined products. Refineries were generally located close to the fields where crude oil was found. But political and technical developments encouraged the oil industry to move their refineries closer to the markets and this led to an increase in demand for tankers designed to carry crude oil rather than refined products. From: There is one very historic 4 masted sailing ship that still exists. She had been converted to an oil tanker in 1907 and carried kerosene from California to Hawaii and molasses on the return voyage. She is Falls of Clyde, shown right. Click image to view web sight.

5 WORLD WAR I - ERA Victoria Class - August 1918
Arethusa Class - August 1898 Robert L. Barnes Class Oct. 1918 Kanawha Class - December 1913 Patoka Class - December 1918 Brazos Class – October 1919 Maumee Class - July 1914 Kaweah Class – December 1921 Sara Thompson Class - August 1918

6 The second USS Arethusa — a steam tanker built in 1893 at Stockton, England, by Craig, Taylor & Company as Lucilene. She was purchased by the Navy on 12 August 1898 to support the Fleet during the Spanish-American War and was commissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Cmdr. John F. Merry in command.

7 The third Kanawha (AO-1) was laid down 8 December 1913 by the Mare Island Navy Yard, San Francisco, Calif.; launched 11 July 1914; sponsored by Miss Dorothy Bennett; She was the longest Oiler of World War I Era She was commissioned 5 June 1915, Lt. Comdr. Richard Werner, USNRF, in command.

8 The second Maumee slid down as Fuel Ship No
The second Maumee slid down as Fuel Ship No. 14 on 23 July 1914 by Navy Shipyard, Mare Island, Calif.; launched 17 April 1915; sponsored by Miss Janet Crose; Maumee was 6 inches shorter than Kanawha Maumee was the first surface ship in the U.S. Navy to be powered by diesel engines. Supervising their installation and operation was her Executive and Engineer Officer, Lt. Chester W. Nimitz. She was commissioned 20 October 1916, Lt. Comdr. Henry C. Dinger in command. When the Navy's ship classifications were introduced 17 July 1920, Maumee was designated AO-2.

9 Sara Thompson was built during 1888 by William Armstrong, Mitchell and Co., Newcastle, England, as the German merchant tanker Gut Heil. She was sold to a United States firm in 1912, retaining her original name. She was accidentally lost on the Mississippi River during Raised during 1917 and repaired. She was purchased on 8 August 1918 for United States Naval service from J. W. Thompson of New York; renamed Sara Thompson on 7 September 1918 at the request of her former owner; and commissioned on 17 September 1918 at New Orleans, Lt. Comdr. Frederick S. Hayes, USNRF, in command.

10 The second Victoria was originally built in 1917 as the steel-hulled, single-screw tanker George G. Henry. Constructed at San Francisco, Calif., by Union Iron Works, She was chartered by the United States Navy from her original owners, the Los Angeles Petroleum Co., on 28 August 1918; and commissioned at New York City the same day, Lt. Comdr. George F. Weeden, USNRF, in command.

11 Robert L. Barnes, a steel tanker built during 1917 by McDougall Duluth Ship Building Co., Duluth, Minn., for the Robert Barnes Steam Ship Co., She was the shortest Oiler of World War I Era She was acquired from her builder by the U.S. Shipping Board on 29 June 1918; transferred to the U.S. Navy the same day; and commissioned at New York 19 October 1918. She remained in custody of the 3d Naval District while preparing for sea. Lt. G. C. Daniels assumed command on 29 January 1919.

12 Patoka (AO-9) was laid down 17 December 1918 by the Newport News Ship Building and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; launched 26 July 1919; She was acquired by the Navy from USSB 3 September 1919; and commissioned 13 October 1919, Comdr. E. F. Robinson in command.

13 Brazos (AO 4) was launched 1 May 1919 by Boston Navy Yard; sponsored by Miss Catherine Rush; and commissioned 1 October 1919, Commander R. Werner, USNRF, in command. As a tanker attached to the Train, Scouting Fleet, Brazos carried fuel oil and stores along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. In 1922 she served temporarily with the U.S. Naval Detachment in Turkish Waters and transferred personnel and remains of the war dead from Marseilles to the United States. In 1924 she joined Train, Squadron 1, Fleet Base Force, to carry fuel and supplies to support the fleet. In 1925 she cruised with the fleet in Hawaii, Somoa, and Australia. On 7 December 1941 Brazos was carrying fuel from the west coast to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. She continued servicing ships in this area until 27 June After operating briefly in the vicinity of the Hawaiian and Samoan Islands, she returned to the Aleutians where she remained until 27 January 1945. On 29 March 1945 she arrived at Okinawa to furnish logistics support for the invasion fleet, after having made several brief stops in the southwestern Pacific. She remained at Okinawa until the middle of October except for a brief period of availability at Leyte, Philippine Islands. She then departed for Japan and supported the occupation forces until 9 November 1945.

14 Kaweah (AO-15) was launched 1919 by William Cramp & Sons, Philadelphia, under USSB account; acquired by the Navy 20 October 1921; and commissioned 28 December 1921, Lt. Comdr. O. Beuilagua, USNRF, in command. After cruises on east coast she returned to Norfolk 7 May and decommissioned 15 August 1922. Kaweah recommissioned 16 December 1940, Comdr. Charles B. McVay in command. From early 1941 until late fall, she made oil runs between ports on the East Coast and the Caribbean. She arrived Argentia, Newfoundland, 17 November for duty in the North Atlantic. For the next 14 months she operated between Iceland, Greenland, and Boston, supplying the fleet with gasoline and diesel oil. She departed New York 13 January 1943 with a cargo of diesel oil for Casablanca, returning New York 12 March. Kaweah made another round trip cruise to Casablanca in April before resuming fueling operations at Halifax, N.S., 26 June. For the remainder of 1943 she cruised in convoy between New England and Iceland supplying the fleet units with vital fuel. For the duration of the war the oiler cruised along the North American coast, Greenland, and the Caribbean with aviation fuel and diesel oil. Throughout the war Kaweah remained almost constantly at sea on the important, never-ending duty of keeping the fleet supplied with petroleum products. Following the cessation of hostilities 14 August 1945, Kaweah arrived Hampton Roads, Va., 26 September and decommissioned at Norfolk 16 November She was transferred to the WSA 28 May 1946 and sold to Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, for scrapping.

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