SS Ben Robertson
SS Ben Robertson was a Liberty ship, Maritime Commission hull number 2432, built during World War II and named for Clemson University alumnus (Class of 1923), journalist, and war correspondent Benjamin F. Robertson, who was killed in the crash of a Pan Am Boeing 314 flying boat, the Yankee Clipper, in the Tagus River, near Lisbon, Portugal, on 22 February 1943.
|Name:||SS Ben Robertson|
|Builder:||Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation, Savannah, Georgia|
|Laid down:||18 November 1943|
|Launched:||4 January 1944|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Julian Longley, Robertson's sister|
|Completed:||21 January 1944|
|Fate:||Scrapped, December 1968|
|Class and type:||Type EC2-S-C1 Liberty ship|
|Displacement:||14,245 long tons (14,474 t)|
|Beam:||57 ft (17 m)|
|Draft:||27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)|
|Speed:||11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)|
|Range:||20,000 nmi (37,000 km; 23,000 mi)|
|Capacity:||10,856 t (10,685 long tons) deadweight (DWT)|
|Armament:||Stern-mounted 4 in (100 mm) deck gun for use against surfaced submarines, variety of anti-aircraft guns|
Ben Robertson was constructed at the yards of the Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation, Savannah, Georgia, one of 88 Liberty ships the yard built. Laid down on 18 November 1943, it was launched on 4 January 1944. Mrs. Julian Longley, Robertson's sister, of Dalton, Georgia, was sponsor for the new ship, part of a nationwide maritime program of naming Liberty ships for war correspondents killed in action. The new vessel was delivered on 21 January 1944, having spent 47 days on the ways and 17 in the water for a total of 64 days building.
Under the auspices of the War Shipping Administration, the Ben Robertson was operated under contract by the A. H. Bull & Co., Inc., of New York City, through the end of the war.
More than 2,400 Liberty ships survived the war, only 196 having been lost in combat. Of these, 835 made up the postwar cargo fleet. Greek entrepreneurs bought 526 ships and Italian ones bought 98. The Ben Robertson was sold to a private firm in 1947, one of five Liberty ships acquired by Constantine G. Gratsos, one of the brothers of the George D. Gratsos Shipping Company of Athens, whose roots date to 1902, and was reflagged for Greece. The ship was renamed Kastor, and homeported at Ithaca, with Dracoulis, Ltd., of London acting as agent. Title changed slightly to George D. Gratsos, Athens, in 1949, and to Gratsos Bros., Athens, in 1963, the peak year for Liberty ship ownership when the Cuban blockade encouraged high freight rates. "The decline of the Liberties that started in 1964 was completed by 1974. In 1966 there were still 722 Liberties operating on world trade routes, of which 603 were Greek-owned." The ship was scrapped at Hirao, Japan, in December 1968.
- Davies, James (2012). "Liberty Cargo Ships" (PDF). ww2ships.com. p. 23. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- The Tiger (newspaper), "The Ben Robertson Is Launched at Savannah Shipyard January 7"[sic], Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, Thursday 20 January 1944, Volume XXXIX, Number 6, page 1.
- Harlaftis, Gelina, "A History of Greek-Owned Shipping: The Making of an International Tramp Fleet, 1830 to the Present Day", Routledge, London and New York, 1996, ISBN 0-203-99332-2, page 255.
- Harlaftis, Gelina, "A History of Greek-Owned Shipping: The Making of an International Tramp Fleet, 1830 to the Present Day", Routledge, London and New York, 1996, ISBN 0-203-99332-2, page 252.