SS Thomas Heyward

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Liberty ship at sea
A Liberty ship at sea
United States
Name: SS Thomas Heyward
Namesake: Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Builder: Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company, Mobile, Alabama
Yard number: MCE #6, Bldrs. #236
Laid down: 21 February 1942
Launched: 31 May 1942
Sponsored by: Mrs. W. D. Tryon, Wife of ADDSCO Hull Foreman; Co-sponsor - Mrs. J. F. Harrell, Wife of Welding Foreman[1]
Completed: 31 July 1942
Fate: Scuttled as an artificial reef, 1977
General characteristics
Class and type: Type EC2-S-C1 Liberty ship
Displacement: 14,245 long tons (14,474 t)[2]
  • 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m) o/a
  • 417 ft 9 in (127.33 m) p/p
  • 427 ft (130 m) w/l[2]
Beam: 57 ft (17 m)[2]
Draft: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)[2]
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)[2]
Range: 20,000 nmi (37,000 km; 23,000 mi)
Capacity: 10,856 t (10,685 long tons) deadweight (DWT)[2]
Crew: 81[2]

SS Thomas Heyward was a Liberty ship, Maritime Commission hull number 236, built by Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company at Mobile, Alabama, laid down 21 February 1942, and launched 31 May 1942.[3] It was named for Thomas Heyward, Jr. (28 July 1746 – 6 March 1809), a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation as a representative of South Carolina.

She was leased to Waterman Steamship Company and delivered on 31 July 1942. On 5 May 1946, the Thomas Heyward hit an unswept floating mine off of Europe.[4] Although damaged, the vessel made it safely back to port for repairs.[5] The vessel was placed in the Mobile Reserve Fleet in 1949, but was reactivated in 1951 for duty during the Korean War.

After final retirement, the vessel was laid up in the James River in Virginia[6] for a time, then was purchased by the Florida Department of Natural Resources and prepared for final disposal as an artificial reef in a Pascagoula, Mississippi salvage yard with the superstructure cut down to the first deck to meet U.S. Army Corps of Engineers specifications for artificial reef structures. It was sunk on 14 April 1977 off of Destin, Florida at 30°18′22.56″N 86°36′13.32″W / 30.3062667°N 86.6037000°W / 30.3062667; -86.6037000Coordinates: 30°18′22.56″N 86°36′13.32″W / 30.3062667°N 86.6037000°W / 30.3062667; -86.6037000, four miles south of the Okaloosa Island pier just north of the PensacolaPanama City shipping lane, in about 79 ft (24 m) of water.[7][8]


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  2. ^ a b c d e f g Davies, James (2012). "Liberty Cargo Ships" (PDF). p. 23. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Liberty Ships". 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  4. ^
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  6. ^
  7. ^ "Locate Reefs". Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "THOMAS HAYWARD CARGO SHIP 1942-1977". 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.