SS Arthur M. Huddell

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SS Hellas Liberty (restored).jpg
SS Hellas Liberty in Piraeus Port, Greece after major restoration (2010)
Career (US)
Namesake: union leader Arthur M. Huddell (1869-1931)[1]
Ordered: MCE hull 1215
Builder: St. Johns River Shipbuilding, Jacksonville, Florida[2]
Laid down: 25 October 1943[2]
Launched: 7 December 1943[2]
Christened: SS Arthur M. Huddell
Refit: 1944
Fate: sold for preservation in Greece
Career (GR) Flag of Greece
Christened: SS Hellas Liberty
Acquired: 2008
Status: Converted to a museum ship
General characteristics
Type: General cargo
Displacement: (as built) 14,257 (fl) tons[2]
Length: 441 feet 6 inches (134.6 m)[2]
Beam: (molded) 56 feet 10.75 inches (17.3 m)[2]
Draft: (as built) 25 feet 3.25 inches (7.7 m)[2]
Installed power: Two Combustion Engineering oil-fired boilers[1]
Propulsion: Filer and Stowell triple expansion, reciprocating engine; 2,500-shaft horsepower (shp)[1]
Speed: 11 knots[1]
Range: 19,000 nautical miles[1]

SS Arthur M Huddel, IMO: 5025706, is a Liberty ship built by St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company with keel laid 25 October 1943 and the yard workers working overtime to launch on 7 December 1943 and complete outfitting nine days later.[1]

Wartime operation[edit]

Huddell carried explosives and general cargo first being loaded in Jacksonville, Florida for London after joining a convoy out of New York, then after return to Norfolk, Virginia and carrying coastal cargo departed Charleston, South Carolina, for Oran, Algeria with a cargo of high explosives.[3]

During the summer of 1944 she was converted to a pipe carrier and transported pipe in her aft two holds from the United States to England that was used in the construction of a fuel pipeline under the English Channel, Operation PLUTO, following the Normandy landings.[4][5] She made the first and last pipe transport voyage carrying 70 miles (112.7 km) of pipe departing New York on 22 September 1945 and then spending eighty-four in London discahrging 17 miles (27.4 km) of pipe into pipe laying ships and unloading the remainder at the dock.[4] For the remainder of the war and immediate post war period Huddell carried coal, general cargo and personnel in voyages involving the United States, France, Italy and Algeria before a final return to Baltimore, Maryland in July 1945 and a voyage to New York before lay up.[4]

Post war operation[edit]

After the war she was laid up at Suisun Bay. She was chartered by AT&T in 1956 and was converted to a cable transport and layer.[6] After operations in support of Distant Early Warning (DEW) line she was transferred to the US reserve fleet from 1957 until 1964. The ship was used to support cable operations for the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) until 1984.[6] Huddell was classified as a barge and again laid up at James River. After that date many components, including the rudder, were removed and used as spare parts for SS John W. Brown. As of 2008 Huddell was one of three Liberties remaining afloat in the United States with the others being Brown and Jeremiah O’Brien.[7]

Museum ship[edit]

In 2008 she was transferred to Greece for conversion to a maritime museum and was renamed Hellas Liberty.[2][8] On December 6, 2008 she left Norfolk, Virginia under tow for Piraeus harbour in January 2009.[9] General repairs and conversions took place at Perama and Salamis during 2009 and 2010, including installation of a new rudder and propeller. In June 2010 she was presented to the public in her restored form in Piraeus harbor.

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