New York Shipbuilding Corporation

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New York Shipbuilding Corporation
Fate Bankruptcy
Founded 1899
Defunct 1968

The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (or New York Ship for short) was founded in 1899 by Henry G. Morse (1850—2 June 1903),[note 1] an engineer noted in connection with bridge design and construction and senior partner of Morse Bridge Company.[1] The original plan was to build a shipyard on Staten Island, thus the name of the company.[2] Plans to acquire a site failed and, after exploration as far south as Virginia with special attention being paid to the Delaware River area, a location in the southern part of Camden, New Jersey chosen instead.[3] Site selection specifically considered the needs of the planned application of bridge building practices of prefabrication and assembly line production of ships in covered ways.[4] Construction of the plant began in July 1899 and was so rapid that the keel of the first ship was laid November 1900.[1] That ship, contract number 1, was M. S. Dollar later to be modified as an oil tanker and renamed J. M. Guffey.[5][note 2] Two of the first contracts were for passenger ships that were among the largest then being built in the United States: #5 for Mongolia and #6 for Manchuria.[6] Morse died after securing contracts for twenty ships and was followed as President by De Courtney May.[1]

On November 27, 1916 a special meeting of the company's stockholders ratified sale of the "fifteen million dollar plant" to a group of companies composed of American International Corporation, International Mercantile Marine Company, W. R. Grace & Company and the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.[7][note 3]

New York Ship's unusual covered ways produced everything from aircraft carriers, battleships, and luxury liners to barges and car floats. At its peak during World War II, NYSB was the largest and most productive shipyard in the world. Its best-known vessels include the destroyer USS Reuben James (DD-245), the cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35), the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63), the nuclear-powered cargo ship NS Savannah, and a quartet of cargo-passenger liners nicknamed the Four Aces.

New York Ship built more than 500 vessels for the U.S. Navy, the United States Merchant Marine, the United States Coast Guard, and other maritime concerns.

Air view of Yorkship Village.
Eight destroyers of the Wickes class, New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, 1919.

During World War I, New York Ship expanded rapidly to fill orders from the U.S. Navy and the Emergency Fleet Corporation. A critical shortage of worker housing led to the construction of Yorkship Village, a planned community of 1,000 brick homes designed by Electus Darwin Litchfield and financed by the War Department. Yorkship Village is now the Fairview section of the City of Camden.

New York Ship's World War II production included all nine Independence-class light carriers (CVL), built on Cleveland-class light cruiser hulls; the 35,000-ton battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57); and 98 LCTs (Landing Craft, Tank), many of which took part in the D-Day landings at Normandy.

After World War II, a much-diminished New York Ship subsisted on a trickle of contracts from the United States Maritime Administration and the U.S. Navy. The yard launched its last civilian vessel (SS Export Adventurer) in 1960, and its last naval vessel was ordered (USS Camden) in 1967. The former yard's site is now part of the Port of Camden, and handles breakbulk cargo.

The last completed submarine to be delivered to the U.S. Navy was USS Guardfish (SSN-612) and was commissioned December 1967. Although USS Camden was the last ship ordered, Guardfish had been ordered years before, but construction was halted from 1963 to 1965 because of the loss of the USS Thresher. USS Pogy (SSN-647) was under construction, and towed to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in 1968 for completion, and NYS went bankrupt due to lack of orders from the Navy.

Ships built[edit]

Ships built by New York Ship include:

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Not to be confused with architect Henry Grant Morse, Jr. (1884—May 28, 1934).
  2. ^ U.S. Navy as USS J. M. Guffey (ID-1279) commissioned 14 October 1918 at Invergorden, Scotland, decommissioned Philadelphia 17 June 1919 (DANFS).
  3. ^ On page 510 of the reference notes that American International Corporation holds interests in the International Mercantile Marine Company, Pacific Mail Steamship, Grace Lines and other ocean transportation companies. The same journal in the October issue, page 440, states American International Corporation had "control of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company."

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Coordinates: 39°54′39″N 75°7′20″W / 39.91083°N 75.12222°W / 39.91083; -75.12222