USS Tarazed (AF-13)

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USS Tarazed (AF-13).jpg
Career
Name:

SS Chiriqui (1932–41, 1946–58)
USS Tarazed (1941–46)

D/S Blexen (1958–71)
Namesake: Tarazed, a star in the constellation Aquila
Owner:

United Fruit Company (1932–58)

Union-Partenreederei T/S (1958–71)
Operator:

United Fruit Company (1932–41, 1946–58)
United States Navy (1941–46)

Union-Partenreederei T/S (1958–71)
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co
Laid down: 18 March 1932
Launched: 1932
Acquired: by bareboat charter, 4 June 1941
Commissioned: 14 June 1941
Decommissioned: 4 January 1946
Struck: 21 January 1946
Fate: scrapped 1971
General characteristics
Class & type: Navy: Mizar-class stores ship
Type: civilian: passenger & cargo liner
Displacement: 6,983 t.(lt) 11,880 t.(fl)
Length: 447 ft 10 in (136.50 m)
Beam: 60 ft (18 m)
Draft: 26 ft (7.9 m)
Installed power: 11,000 shp (8,200 kW)
Propulsion: turbo-electric transmission, twin screws
Speed: 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) (max)
Capacity: 2,615 long tons deadweight (DWT)
Complement: 238
Armament: one single 5"/38 dual purpose gun mount, four 3"/50 guns

USS Tarazed (AF-13) was a United Fruit Company cargo and passenger liner that served as a United States Navy Mizar-class stores ship in World War II. In peacetime before and after the war she carried fruit and passengers; in war she supplied troops and ships in the field. In 1958 she was sold to a German shipping line, and in 1971 she was scrapped after 39 years' service.

Building and pre-war service[edit]

The Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Newport News, Virginia built the ship as SS Chiriqui for United Fruit Company in 1932. She was one of six UFC sister ships driven by turbo-electric transmission. Chiriqui's peacetime service was in carrying fruit, passengers and mail on regular liner services between Central America and the USA.

US Navy service[edit]

The US Navy bareboat chartered her through the Maritime Commission on 4 June 1941. Brewer's Drydock Co. of Staten Island, New York converted her for Navy use and she was commissioned on 14 June 1941, commanded by Cmdr J.M. Connally.

Neutrality period operations[edit]

Tarazed loaded supplies sailed to North Carolina to supply ships of the Neutrality Patrol. After returning to New York, she left late in August for a voyage to Iceland to resupply US and Royal Navy ships.

World War II North Atlantic operations[edit]

When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, Tarazed was at Halifax, Nova Scotia preparing to join another convoy to Iceland. Upon completion of the voyage she went to Baltimore, Maryland, for an extensive overhaul before making resupply runs to Newfoundland, Iceland and Bermuda.

In July 1942 Tarazed reached Boston, Massachusetts, from Nova Scotia and loaded a cargo for Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Panama. On 21 September she returned to Baltimore with a cargo of sugar. She continued supply runs from Baltimore or Norfolk, Virginia, to the Caribbean until mid-1943.

Supporting the invasion of North Africa[edit]

On 8 June 1943 Tarazed joined Task Force 65 at Norfolk — headed for North Africa — and arrived at Mers el Kebir, Algeria, on 22 June. She partially unloaded there and, on the 30th, took the rest of her cargo to Oran.

On 4 July, Tarazed left for the US in convoy GUS-9. She reached Norfolk, VA on 23 July, was replenished, and left for Bermuda. After supplying Bermuda and Cuba she returned to the US, reaching Bayonne, New Jersey, on 13 August.

Eight days later Tarazed left for North Africa, reaching Mers el Kebir on 2 September. After calling at Bizerte and Algiers, she returned to the US in convoy GUS-15 and arrived at Norfolk on 4 October. Late that month, she joined convoy UGS-22 to take materiel to Oran, Bizerte and Palermo. Then, with the exception of a voyage to the Mediterranean in April, she took provisions to the Caribbean in the first five months of 1944.

Supporting the invasion of southern France[edit]

In June, Tarazed delivered provisions to ships in the ports of Plymouth, Swansea and Portland Harbour in Britain and at Belfast in Northern Ireland. She steamed from Norfolk on 24 August and arrived at Oran on 4 September to supply ships supporting the invasion of southern France. She continued logistics runs to the Mediterranean into April 1945 and turned to supplying bases and ports in the Caribbean until 14 December 1945 when she was ordered to report to the 8th Naval District for disposal.

Military honors and awards[edit]

Tarazed received one battle star for World War II.

Post-war decommissioning[edit]

Tarazed was decommissioned on 4 January 1946, was returned to United Fruit through the War Shipping Administration at New Orleans, Louisiana, the same day and was struck from the Navy list on 21 January 1946.

Post-war service[edit]

United Fruit restored the ship's pre-war name Chiriqui to her. In 1958 United Fruit sold her to Union-Partenreederei T/S of Bremen, Germany, which also acquired her United Fruit sister ship Jamaica. Union-Partenreederei changed Chiriqui's name to D/S Blexen.

References[edit]

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

External links[edit]