Northwest Steel

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West Shore, one of the "West" boats built at Northwest Steel

Northwest Steel was a small shipyard in Portland, Oregon. Little is known of its background or owners, but during World War I the yard built cargo ships for the United States Shipping Board (USSB). Some 37 of the 46 ships ship built at Northwest Steel were the West boats, a series of 5,500 gross register tons (GRT) steel-hulled cargo ships built for the USSB on the West Coast of the United States as part of the World War I war effort.[1]

It was headed by Joseph R. Bowles, who was indicted for bribing a government official in about 1918 and then convicted of contempt of court.[2] He was later described as a "greedy, domineering and difficult person, with no sense of civic responsibility."[2]

The first ship built at Northwest Steel was the cargo ship War Baron, originally launched on March 31, 1917 as the Cunard Line ship Vesterlide,[1] a British-flagged ship sunk by German submarine U-55 in January 1918.[3] The final ship built was the 8,200 GRT tanker Swiftwind, completed in June 1921.[1]

Notable ships built at Northwest Steel[edit]