MS Transpet

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Name: MS Avoca[1]
Builder: St. Johns River Shipbuilding[1]
Jacksonville, Florida
Yard number: 88[1]
Acquired: by U.S. Navy under loan charter, 1945[2]
Renamed: Petaluma (AOG-69), 1945[2]
Launched: 5 May 1945[1]
Notes: U.S. Navy acquisition canceled, 27 August 1945 while 85% complete[2][3]
Completed: at Maryland Drydock Company[1]
Baltimore, Maryland
Renamed: MS Transpet, 1947[1]
Owner: 1947: National Petroleum Transport Corporation[2]
Operator: –1951: D. K. Ludwig[4]
Port of registry: –1951: 22x20px Panama[4]
Fate: sank on 30 October 1951[4]
General characteristics
Type: Type T1-M-BT1 tanker
Tonnage: 2,948 GRT[1]
Length: 311 ft 3 in (94.87 m)[5]
Beam: 48 ft 3 in (14.71 m)[5]
Draft: 22 ft 8 in (6.91 m)[5]
Propulsion: 1 diesel engine[1]
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h)[1]

MS Transpet was a tanker of United States and Panamanian registry.


She was ordered by the United States Maritime Commission as MS Avoca however, while still under construction at St. Johns River Shipbuilding, Jacksonville, she was reassigned to the United States Navy under a loan charter and renamed Petaluma (AOG-69)[2]

Petaluma was launched on 5 May 1945,[1] and was about 85% complete when,[3] due to the end of World War II, the ship's U.S. Navy reassignment was canceled on 26 August 1945.[2] Although initially restored to her original name of Avoca by her original owners,[2] the unfinished ship was completed by the Maryland Drydock Company in Baltimore, Maryland, in October 1947 and sold to the National Petroleum Transport Corporation where she was renamed Transpet.[1]


From 1947 until 1951, Transpet flew the U.S. flag. In 1951 Transpet was registered under the Panamanian flag and placed under the operation of D.K. Ludwig of New York for the British American Oil Company.[4]

On 29 October 1951 the tanker departed Montreal for Halifax loaded with 1,500,000 imperial gallons (6,800,000 l) of gasoline and kerosene.[4][6] The following day, the ship suffered an explosion in the engine room while in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Two seamen were killed in the blast; the other eighteen members of the crew abandoned the sinking ship and were rescued by the British ship Ottinge and landed at North Sydney, Nova Scotia.[4]

In May 1954, the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company announced that its "sea scanar" device had located the wreck of Transpet at a depth of 120 feet (37 m) about 13 nautical miles (24 km) off Miscou Island. It was the first time the "sea scanar", which had been in use as a fish finder off the West Coast of the United States, had been used in a salvage operation and the first wreck located using it.[6]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 ""5615779" (Transpet)" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Priolo, Gary P. (27 April 2007). "Petaluma (AOG-69)". Service Ship Photo Archive. NavSource Online. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Custody Card (front)" (scan of record). Property Management & Archive Record System (PMARS). United States Maritime Administration. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Two perish in sinking of Panamanian tanker". The New York Times. Associated Press: p. 59. 1 November 1951. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Lloyd's Register of Shipping. Register of Ships (1945–46 ed.). London: Lloyd's Register of Shipping.  Scan of page "P" (pdf) hosted at Plimsoll Ship Data. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "News of interest in shipping field". The New York Times. Canadian Press: p. 33. 15 May 1954.