USNS Taurus (T-AK-273)

USNS Taurus (T-AK-273) was a vehicle landing ship built for the United States Navy. The lone ship of her class, she was named for the constellation Taurus, and was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

United States
Name: USNS Taurus
Builder: Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation, Chickasaw, Alabama
Laid down: 8 November 1944
Completed: 1956 as SS Carib Queen
In service: 15 January 1959, as USNS Taurus (T-AK-273)
Out of service: September 1968
Reclassified: T-LSV-8 (Landing Ship Vehicle), 1 January 1963
Struck: 22 June 1971
Fate: Sold for scrapping, 25 June 1969
General characteristics
Type: Cargo ship
Displacement: 9,950 long tons (10,110 t)
Length: 475 ft (145 m)
Beam: 72 ft (22 m)
Draft: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Propulsion: 2 geared turbines, 2 shafts
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement: 69


Taurus was laid down as the dock landing ship USS Fort Snelling (LSD-23) on 8 November 1944 at Chickasaw, Alabama, by the Gulf Shipbuilding Corporation. The end of World War II made her services unnecessary, and the Navy cancelled the contract for her acquisition. The unchristened hull changed hands twice before being completed in 1956 as the roll-on/roll-off ship SS Carib Queen for Trailer Marine Transport, Inc. In 1957, the ship received a Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) charter for transatlantic service. However, problems in her propulsion system caused delays and repairs which prevented her actually serving MSTS. In March, 1958 after Trailer Marine Transport, Inc. had defaulted on her mortgage, the Maritime Administration took over the vessel. She was assigned to MSTS on 15 January 1959, renamed Taurus, and designated T-AK-273.

Service history

In May, 1959 Taurus made her first cargo run, from New York City to St. Nazaire. Over the next nine years, she continued to carry cargo for MSTS in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. On 1 January 1963 Taurus was re-designated vehicle landing ship LSV-8. During the mid-1960s she carried cargo to ports in South Vietnam in support of the American effort in the Vietnam War. She also was used by NASA, along with the USNS Point Barrow (T-AKD-1), to carry S-IVB and S-II stages of the Saturn V moon rocket from their production facilities in California to the Mississippi Test Facility and the Kennedy Space Center during the mid-1960s. Never commissioned, Taurus went out of service at Yokosuka, Japan, in September 1968. She was transferred back to the Maritime Administration on 25 June 1969 and was sold on the same day to the Union Minerals and Alloy Corporation of New York City. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register almost two years later, on 22 June 1971. Her final fate is unknown.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

  • "Taurus". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Retrieved May 1, 2007.
  • "LSD-23 Fort Snelling & T-AK-273 / T-LSV-8 Taurus". Amphibious Photo Archive. Retrieved May 1, 2007.

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