USS Crater (AK-70)

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USS Crater (AK-70).jpg
USS Crater (AK-70) underway in San Francisco Bay, 2 November 1942, soon after conversion for naval service.
United States
  • John James Audubon
  • Crater
Ordered: as a Type EC2-S-C1 hull, MCE hull 420[1]
Builder: Permanente Metals Corporation, Richmond, California
Cost: $1,181,541[2]
Yard number: 420[1]
Way number: 1[1]
Laid down: 28 August 1942
Launched: 8 October 1942
Sponsored by: Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Cornelison Wetzel
Acquired: 22 October 1942
Commissioned: 31 October 1942
Decommissioned: 25 June 1946
Struck: 23 June 1947
Fate: laid up in National Defense Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, California, 23 June 1947
Status: sold for scrapping, 26 August 1974, completed, 30 March 1975
General characteristics [3]
Class and type: Crater-class cargo ship
Type: Type EC2-S-C1
  • 4,023 long tons (4,088 t) (standard)
  • 14,550 long tons (14,780 t) (full load)
Length: 441 ft 6 in (134.57 m)
Beam: 56 ft 11 in (17.35 m)
Draft: 28 ft 4 in (8.64 m)
Installed power:
  • 1 × Header-type boilers, 220psi 450°,  (manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox)
  • 2,500 shp (1,900 kW)
Speed: 12.5 kn (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph)
  • 7,800 t (7,700 long tons) DWT
  • 444,206 cu ft (12,578.5 m3) (non-refrigerated)
Complement: 205

USS Crater (AK-70) was the lead ship of her class of converted liberty ship cargo ships in the service of the US Navy in World War II. Named after the constellation Crater, she was the only ship of the Navy to bear this name.


Crater was laid down 28 August 1942, as liberty ship SS John James Audubon, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MC hull 420, by Permanente Metals Corporation, Yard No. 2, Richmond, California. She was launched 8 October 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Mary Elisabeth Cornelison Wetsel, and transferred to the Navy 22 October 1942. Crater was commissioned 31 October 1942, with Lieutenant Commander Russell Dodd, USNR, in command.[4]

Service history[edit]

Clearing San Francisco 10 November 1942, Crater delivered cargo to Efate and Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, and Nouméa, New Caledonia before arriving at Wellington, New Zealand, 28 June 1943 to repair and reload.[4]

Crater continued to carry cargo from New Zealand and other supply bases to Guadalcanal and throughout the Solomons until 21 June 1944, when she sailed to operate in the Marshalls and Marianas through the summer. She returned to Guadalcanal, resuming operations in the southwest Pacific until 1 March 1945, when she cleared for overhaul at San Francisco.[4]

She delivered cargo from the west coast at Samar, Philippines, and departed 26 July for Auckland. Crater carried cargo from Auckland and Brisbane, Australia, to Saipan, the Philippines, Manus, Nouméa, and Eniwetok until 5 February 1946, when she sailed for Pearl Harbor, arriving 24 February.[4]


After a voyage to San Pedro, California, Crater was decommissioned at Pearl Harbor 25 June 1946, and was transferred to MARCOM the next day.[4]

Final disposition[edit]

Crater was laid up in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, California, on 26 June 1947, after being transferred to the War Shipping Administration (WSA).[3]

On 26 August 1974, she was sold for $466,668[5] to Seangyong Trading Company, Ltd., Seoul, South Korea, for scrapping. The scrapping of Crater was completed on 30 March 1975.[3]



  • "Crater". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 11 December 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  • "Kaiser Permanente No. 2, Richmond CA". 13 October 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  • "USS Crater (AK-70)". 27 May 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  • "CRATER (AK-70)". United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  • "SS John James Audubon". Retrieved 15 December 2017.

External links[edit]