SS American Victory

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SS American Victory
Career (United States)
Name: American Victory
Builder: California Shipbuilding (Calship)
Yard number: 272
Acquired: 20 June 1945
Fate: Museum ship
General characteristics
Class and type: VC2-S-AP2 Victory Ship
Tonnage: 10,750 long tons deadweight (DWT)
Length: 455 ft (139 m)
Beam: 62 ft (19 m)
Draft: 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)
Propulsion: Allis-Chalmers cross-compound steam turbine with double reduction gears
6,000 hp (4,500 kW) at 100 rpm
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Range: 23,500 mi (20,400 nmi; 37,800 km)
Capacity: 500,000 cu ft (14,000 m3) (approximate)
Complement: 62 United States Merchant Marine and United States Navy Armed Guard
Armament: 5-inch stern gun
3-inch bow anti-aircraft gun
eight Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
SS American Victory (Victory ship)
SS American Victory is located in Florida
SS American Victory
Location 705 Channelside Dr, Berth 271, Tampa, Florida
Coordinates 27°56′38″N 82°26′39″W / 27.94389°N 82.44417°W / 27.94389; -82.44417Coordinates: 27°56′38″N 82°26′39″W / 27.94389°N 82.44417°W / 27.94389; -82.44417
Area less than one acre
Built 1945
Built by California Shipbuilding Corporation, Terminal Island, Los Angeles, CA
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 01001533[1]
Added to NRHP February 4, 2002

SS American Victory is a Victory ship built during World War II that is now the main feature of the American Victory Ship & Museum, also known as the American Victory Mariners Memorial & Museum Ship in Tampa, Florida's Channel District. American Victory was preserved in 1998 to serve as a museum ship.[2]


Named after American University in Washington, D.C., the ship was built at the California Shipbuilding Yard (Calship) in Los Angeles, California in 55 days and was delivered on 20 June 1945. American Victory carried cargo in the Pacific until the end of the war, when she collected military equipment from Calcutta and Port Said for return to the United States.[3]

Post-WWII Service[edit]

From June 1946 until November 1947, American Victory was chartered by American Export Lines, carrying foodstuffs and machinery exported from the United States to Europe under the Marshall Plan. She was then laid up in the Hudson River Reserve Fleet until she was again chartered by commercial shipping lines from 1951 until January 1954, when she entered the Sabine River Reserve Fleet in Texas.[4]

In 1963 plans were made to convert her and 14 other Victory ships to "forward depot" vessels, to be loaded with materiel and stationed near potential flashpoints to provide American forces with pre-positioned supplies. This scheme was cancelled in February 1966 after only three conversions had been carried out. Had American Victory been converted, she would have been renamed USNS Carthage and assigned pennant AG 185.

American Victory was removed from reserve in 1966 and chartered to the Hudson Waterways Corporation, which used her to ferry military equipment to American forces in South Vietnam. She was deactivated again in October 1969 and placed in the James River Reserve Fleet in Virginia where she remained until 1985. American Victory was then renovated as part of a program to determine the efforts needed to reactivate mothballed Victory ships. In June, after $2.5 million had been spent to bring her up to operational condition, she sailed for just 26 hours before returning to the Reserve Fleet.[4]

Current status[edit]

American Victory Name Plaque.jpg

One of several Victory ships due to be scrapped, she was rescued in October 1998 for preservation as a museum ship and memorial. American Victory arrived at Tampa under tow on 16 September 1999. She is now on display and included on the National Register of Historic Places. Guided and self-guided tours of the ship are available, though some areas are off limits for tours, such as the lower areas of the engine room (but visible from a catwalk). Photos of her drydock restoration are hanging in the mess hall. Several rooms, such as the captain's quarters and galley cold storage, have been restored and are decorated in original period memorabilia.[5]

American Victory has been upgraded with modern VHF radio and radar (visible on the command deck), and more modern electronics have been added to the electricians' quarters and radio room, but she is generally in her historic form. Her 3-inch bow mounted deck gun is still in place, although it has been demilitarized. The museum "crew" take pride in the fact that she is a seaworthy vessel.

Starboard view of American Victory

In addition to her floating museum role, American Victory still sails for "Living History Day Cruises".[4]

Of the 534 Victory ships completed, only three remain working: American Victory at Tampa, SS Lane Victory at Los Angeles, and SS Red Oak Victory (AK-235) at Richmond, California.[clarification needed] Until November 2012, a fourth, USNS Range Sentinel, originally USS Sherburne (APA-205), was in storage, but she has been sold for scrapping.[6]

The ship is also used as an operating base for a local United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps unit.

In late 2009, a Facedown Records music video by the Christian metal band Onward To Olympas was shot aboard American Victory for their song, "Sink or Swim".[7]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "SS American Victory". Landmark: United States. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  3. ^ "SS American Victory". Historic Naval Ships Association. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  4. ^ a b c "S.S. American Victory". Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  5. ^ "Salute to Veterans Cruise set aboard SS American Victory". Tampa Bay Newspapers ( 4 November 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  6. ^ "National Defense Reserve Fleet Inventory" (PDF). United States Maritime Administration. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  7. ^ "Onward To Olympas - "Sink or Swim" Official Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-12-10. 

External links[edit]