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SS John Philip Sousa

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United States
NameJohn Philip Sousa
NamesakeJohn Philip Sousa
OwnerWar Shipping Administration (WSA)
OperatorWessel Duval & Company
Orderedas type (EC2-S-C1) hull, MC hull 1200
BuilderSt. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida[2]
Yard number8
Way number2
Laid down29 March 1943
Launched4 July 1943
Sponsored byMrs. Kenneth A.Merrill
Completed6 August 1943
FateSold for commercial use, 15 October 1946, withdrawn from fleet, 1 November 1946
OwnerCompania Internacional de Vapores
OperatorSimpson, Spence, and Young
FateSold, 1954
OwnerCompania Nav. de Belen
OperatorLemos Bros.
FateSold, 1960
OwnerCompania Nav. de Protostatis
OperatorLemos Bros.
General characteristics [3]
Class and type
  • 441 feet 6 inches (135 m) oa
  • 416 feet (127 m) pp
  • 427 feet (130 m) lwl
Beam57 feet (17 m)
Draft27 ft 9.25 in (8.4646 m)
Installed power
  • 2 × Oil fired 450 °F (232 °C) boilers, operating at 220 psi (1,500 kPa)
  • 2,500 hp (1,900 kW)
Speed11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)
  • 562,608 cubic feet (15,931 m3) (grain)
  • 499,573 cubic feet (14,146 m3) (bale)

SS John Philip Sousa was a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was named after John Philip Sousa, an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era known primarily for American military marches.


John Philip Sousa was laid down on 29 March 1943, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MC hull 1200, by the St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida; she was sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth A. Merrill, the wife of the vice president of the St. Johns River SB Co., she was launched on 4 July 1943.[2][1]


She was allocated to Wessel Duval & Company on 6 August 1943. On 6 June 1946, she was placed in the Hudson River Reserve Fleet, Jones Point, New York. She was sold for commercial use, on 15 October 1946, to Compania Internacional de Vapores, and renamed Erato. She was withdrawn from the fleet, 1 November 1946. On 30 September 1965, while operating as Protostatis, she ran aground in Lake Ontario and suffered extensive damage. After being refloated, she again ran aground on Wolfe Island, at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, while being towed to Montreal, on 16 November 1965. She was declared a constructive total loss (CTL) and scrapped in 1966.[4]

The bell from the ship is still used by the United States Marine Band, particularly in Sousa's piece, The Liberty Bell.[5]


  1. ^ a b c MARCOM.
  2. ^ a b St. John's River SBC 2010.
  3. ^ Davies 2004, p. 23.
  4. ^ MARAD.
  5. ^ "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, The Liberty Bell, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7FD9PNpfpo


  • "St. John's River Shipbuilding, Jacksonville FL". www.ShipbuildingHistory.com. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  • Maritime Administration. "John Philip Sousa". Ship History Database Vessel Status Card. U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  • Davies, James (May 2004). "Specifications (As-Built)" (PDF). p. 23. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  • "SS John Philip Sousa". Retrieved 16 December 2019.