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African Mercury - IMO 5004245

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Photo Details
Photographer:William C. Daugherty [View profile]Title:African MercuryAdded:Feb 05, 2008
Photo Category: General cargo ships built 1960-1969 (Over 3000gt)
SS African Mercury of Farrell Lines docked on the north side of pier 82, South wharves, Philadelphia on June 4th 1970. Now Known as the CAPE ANN. More information is at:
Vessel Identification
Name:Cape Ann
Former name(s):
- African Mercury (Until 1980)
- Cape Alexander (period Unknown)
Technical Data
Vessel type:General Cargo
Gross tonnage:11,580 tons
Summer DWT:12,932 tons

Additional Information
Home port:Norfolk Va
Build year:1962
AIS Information
AIS information: N/A
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Photo Comments (9)

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oceanradio on Dec 31, 2020 16:23 (2 months ago)
SS Cape Ann was my first USMM ship, in Oct 1990. I had always wanted to go to sea as a sparks. The union called and said they were waiting for a radio officer to sail and would depart once I arrived, at NorShipCo, Norfolk. I resigned from my job to go to Norfolk, but the ship did not even have running water when I arrived and the crew lived in a Holiday Inn in town and the ChMate drove us back and forth in a van. About 7 days later we moved aboard and got underway for sea trials after an FCC inspection of the radio room, which had a couple of problems that were fixed. My very first night at sea the auto alarm went off about 0300 and I went to the radio room expecting a false alarm. The auto alarms I remember from working on ships in the 50's were very prone to trouble, but immediately I heard, loud and clear, VCS in Canada "SOS SOS SOS." My knees began to shake. Not hearing anyone else answer I answered but it was an SOS relay and we were way too far away to help, just off Norfolk.
The ship was beautiful. The captain was a young fellow who was normally captain of one of the AMSEA preposition ships at Diego Garcia I think.
The day after we returned to Norfolk we were s paid off and the ship returned to the reserve fleet, only to be broken out again soon afterward. Meanwhile, I got an SL7 and stayed until after Desert Storm had ended. But what a beautiful ship. Those two ships changed my life. I could not be happy working in an office after that so quit a couple of years after the war and went back to sea, aboard the ammunition ship Buffalo Soldier, and wished I had done so sooner. It all began with SS Cape Ann.
chiefmate53 on Nov 11, 2015 23:37 (5 years ago)
1978 Deck Maine Maritime Academy w/ MMP out of NY/NJ my first 3rd mate site, captained by C.Tripolitis. On our inbound, we called Boston Ma. (an usual stop) to unload frozen shrimp, being from the Nth shore, my mother and brother enjoyed a nice breakfast aboard. A great start to a short,but very interesting,sea going experience.
aspidle on Mar 01, 2015 20:21 (6 years ago)
I was Ordinary Seaman on the 4 to 8 watch in the Summer of 1965. I sailed out of the NMU Hall in Manhatten as a Summer (63, 64, 65) job when I was in College.

I had the best Summer jobs a boy ever had.
Captsin Stephen E. Nadeau on Dec 20, 2009 14:53 (11 years ago)
I was Chief Mate and Master on the Mercury knew all the other ships being in the line for 12 years '68-'80. West South East Africa, Australia and N.Z.. Great ship over all. Fast ship capable of just under 24 kts. Sea freindly and stable. Stability was never a problem even with a large deck load but not container friendly as hatchsizes had minimum clearances. A wonder ful ship to saild in and had beautiful lines.

able to carry 12 passangers in very nice rooms Passanger area had a private lounge and veranda deck. Carried a crew around 38 when new including cadets and a radio officer.

Other questions contact
Jim Wood on Apr 10, 2009 18:49 (11 years ago)
When this "boat" was young I was a Deck Cadet - 10/17/63 to 12/29/63. The ship had a major casuality. I believe that steam leaked from the astern gardian valve and 9 blades on the astern element of the LP turbine were thrown off through the condenser. Salinity alarms were the first signal. The LH was by passed and the ship proceeded to Durban at a very slow speed. We spent about a month there. A section of bulkhead between ER and #5 was removed and the turbine sent ashore where GE worked on it. As a time reference, JFK was shot when I was there and I heard the Beatles first in South Arfica. Regards, Jim Wood
Einar R. Petersen on Sep 17, 2008 04:42 (12 years ago)
I was Chief Engineer on the S/S Cape Alava during Desert Shield/Storm in 1991, and I believe she was the African Comet. I have all the data at home, and when I get there, I'll send it to you.

Einar Petersen, C/E M/V Manistee (Great Lakes)
DeckApe85 on Jun 09, 2008 17:02 (12 years ago)
This one appeared in the 1971 movie 'The French Connection,' being the ship that the drug laden car was offloaded from. They show her being removed from the hold and driving off the pier at Red Hook.
BWDiesel on Jul 02, 2007 14:41 (13 years ago)
They became Marad "cape" vessels. some have gone to scrap, if not all.
William C. Daugherty on May 22, 2007 08:15 (13 years ago)
Does anybody have any details (beyond standard specs) or recollections of this ship, or her sisters (African(s) Comet, Mercury, Dawn & Meteor, Neptune & Sun)?
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