USS Canisteo (AO-99)
USS Canisteo (AO-99) in the Mediterranean Sea, 1951
|Namesake:||The Canisteo River in New York|
|Ordered:||as T3-S2-A3 tanker hull, MC hull 2561|
|Laid down:||11 November 1944|
|Launched:||6 July 1945|
|Commissioned:||3 December 1945|
|Decommissioned:||2 October 1989|
|Struck:||31 August 1992|
|Fate:||sold for scrapping|
|Displacement:||7,236 t.(lt) 25,440 t.(fl)|
|Length:||553 ft (169 m)|
|Beam:||75 ft (23 m)|
|Draught:||32 ft (9.8 m)|
|Propulsion:||. steam turbines, four boilers, two shafts, 13,500 shaft horsepower , twin screws, 30,400hp|
|Complement:||22 officers, 362 enlisted|
|Armament:||as built 1x1 5"/38 DP; 4x1 3"/50 DP; 4x2 40 mm Bofors AA; 4x220 mm AA As decommissioned 2x1 3"/50 DP|
USS Canisteo (AO-99) was an Cimarron-class fleet oiler constructed for the U.S. Navy in the closing days of World War II. Commissioned too late for service in that conflict, she had a lengthy career in the Cold War that followed.
Canisteo (AO-99) was launched 6 July 1945 by Bethlehem Steel-Sparrows Point Shipyard, Inc., Sparrows Point, Maryland, under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. J. N. Chambers; and commissioned 3 December 1945, Lieutenant Commander E. L. Denton, USNR, in command.
Post-World War II operations
Canisteo cleared Norfolk 4 February 1946 for Melville, Rhode Island, where she loaded diesel oil for naval units taking part in the occupation of Germany. Returning from Bremerhaven and Farge, Germany, she carried out training operations in the Caribbean, and then sailed to Iceland and Greenland, returning to New York City 27 May.
Participating in Antarctic exercises
The tanker sailed south from Norfolk 27 November 1946 as a unit of Operation Highjump, the largest Antarctic expedition to that time. Steaming through the Panama Canal to the Antarctic, Canisteo reached Scott and Peter Islands, and through her logistic support, played a critical role in this historic exploratory and scientific project, carrying on the Navy's traditional role in expanding man's frontiers. Canisteo returned to Norfolk 23 April 1947 after calling at Rio de Janeiro and Caribbean ports.
North Atlantic operations
Between 4 June 1947 and 23 October 1948, Canisteo served four tours of duty supporting the U.S. 6th Fleet by carrying oil from Bahrain to the Mediterranean. The winter and spring of 1948–1949 found Canisteo operating on fueling duty from Norfolk, Virginia, to Caribbean ports; Argentia, Newfoundland; and Grondal, Greenland. A pattern of alternating exercises in the Caribbean with overhauls and tours of duty in the Mediterranean in the following years was highlighted by her fueling in support of many fleet exercises.
She played a part in augmenting the growing strength of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization through Operation Mainbrace (26 August-11 October 1952) and in combined operations with Canadian forces (16–20 September 1956). Active with the Fleet, Canisteo continued to operate out of Norfolk through 1960, participating in fleet and NATO exercises.
Between 1966 and 1968 Canisteo along with seven other oilers was "jumboized" by adding a 27 m section. The new overall length was now 196.3 m, the displacement went up to 34.750 ts.
Canisteo was decommissioned 2 October 1989 and struck from the Naval Register, 31 August 1992. She was transferred to the Maritime Administration for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Fort Eustis, Virginia. Final Disposition: she was sold for scrapping to Able UK, Hartlepool, Teeside, England, and removed from the Reserve Fleet and, during October 2003, was under tow to the United Kingdom.
Canisteo and three other decommissioned US Navy ships, the Caloosahatchee,Canopus and Compass Island, were towed to Hartlepool to be scrapped, but UK environmentalists protested their arrival at Able UK, the salvage company.
Work to dismantle a controversial fleet of former US warships was slated to begin in the summer of 2008, five years after the company originally won the scrapping contract.
Military honors and awards
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Canisteo's crew were authorized the following medals:
- Navy Battle "E" Ribbon
- American Campaign Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy Occupation Service Medal (with Europe clasp)
- National Defense Service Medal (2)
- Antarctic Service Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (1-Cuba, 1-Dominican Republic)
- Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation (2)
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive – AO-99 Canisteo
- The Guardian UK: Are the Ghost Ships such a Grave Matter?