SS Fairport (1941)
|Owner:||Waterman Steamship Company|
|Port of registry:||Mobile, Alabama|
|Launched:||15 November 1941|
|Fate:||sunk by U-161, 16 July 1942|
|Type:||Type C2-S-E1 ship|
|Length:||445 ft 0 in (135.64 m)|
|Beam:||63 ft 0 in (19.20 m)|
|Draft:||31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 steam turbines, geared to a single screw propeller|
|Speed:||15.5 knots (28.7 km/h)|
|Crew:||10 officers, 33 men, 14 Naval Armed Guardsmen|
SS Fairport was a Type C2-S-E1 cargo ship built by Gulf Shipbuilding for the Waterman Steamship Company. She was sunk by German submarine U-161 on 16 July 1942. All hands were rescued by an American destroyer.
Fairport was laid down as the first ship constructed at Gulf Shipbuilding of Chickasaw, Alabama. Constructed under a United States Maritime Commission contract (MC hull number 849) on behalf of the Waterman Steamship Company of Mobile, Alabama, she was launched on 15 November 1941. After Fairport's April 1942 completion, she was registered at Mobile and armed with a 4-inch (100 mm) deck gun and six machine guns, and took on fourteen Naval Armed Guardsmen to man the guns.
On 13 July 1942, Fairport departed New York with convoy WS 4 for the Persian Gulf. She was carrying a cargo of 8,000 long tons (8,128.375 t) of materiel which included a deck load of tanks, and also carried 66 passengers. The convoy consisted of six other merchant ships and an escort of three destroyers; Fairport's station in the convoy was in position #12, the second ship in the port column.
At 09:45 on 16 July, near position Coordinates: or about 500 nautical miles (930 km) northwest of the Virgin Islands, Fairport was struck by two torpedoes launched by Korvettenkapitän Albrecht Achilles, the commander of German submarine U-161. The first torpedo struck the cargo ship's #4 cargo hold on the port side, starting a fire that was quickly extinguished by inrushing seawater. The second torpedo struck ten seconds after the first, and opened a 30-by-25-foot (9.1 by 7.6 m) hole near the #1 hold. The engines were secured and the vessel ordered abandoned five minutes later. Fifteen minutes after the attack, Fairport sank by the stern. All 123 persons aboard the ship (10 officers, 33 men, 14 Naval Armed Guardsmen, 66 passengers) were rescued by destroyer Kearny, and landed at New York on 21 July.
- Browning, p. 187.
- Lloyd's Register of Shipping. Register of Ships (1941–42 ed.). London: Lloyd's Register of Shipping. Scan of page "F" (pdf) hosted at Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- "Fairport (2241559)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 6 July 2009. (Subscription required (. ))
- Colton, Time. "Halter Marine - Chickasaw, Chickasaw AL". Shipbuildinghistory.com. The Colton Companies. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Helgason, Guðmundur. "Allied Ships hit by U-boats: Fairport". Uboat.net. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Browning, Robert M. (1996). U.S. Merchant Vessel War Casualties of World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-087-8. OCLC 32310902.