Launch of the SS Samuel Dexter
Seventy years ago, on 27 March 1943, Delta Shipbuilding Co. in New Orleans launched the SS Samuel Dexter. In this photo you can see the unfinished gun mounts indicating the wartime workflow. Her service was short-lived because the Liberty ship sunk on 21 January 1944 in the North Atlantic. The likely cause was hull failure, when welded hulls simply split or cracked. No lives were lost aboard the Samuel Dexter. It is estimated that 127 of the 4,694 Liberty ships and T2 tankers suffered from major hull fatigue or failure. Potential causes cited have been the high sulfuric content of wartime steel in cold temperatures, poor ship design, and workmanship.
Gift of Earl and Elaine Buras, 1999.060.016
Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.