SS Ancon

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Career (United States) 100x35px
Name: SS Shawmut
Owner: Boston Steamship Company
Builder: Maryland Steel Company
Sparrows Point, Maryland
Launched: 1902
Out of service: Sold and renamed about 1910
Homeport: Boston
Identification: Code Letters KRNT
Notes: Official No. 117125
Career (United States)
Name: SS Ancon
Owner: Panama Railroad Company
Acquired: circa 1910
Out of service: Sold to US Government 1918
Homeport: New York
Career (United States Navy)
Name: USS Ancon (ID-1467)
Acquired: November 16, 1918
Commissioned: March 23, 1919
Decommissioned: July 25, 1919
General characteristics
Type: Cargo Liner, later Troop transport
Tonnage: 9606 Gross Tons
Displacement: 9,332 long tons (9,482 t)
Length: 489.5 ft (149.2 m)
Beam: 58 ft (18 m)
Draft: 28.9 ft (8.8 m)
Propulsion: Steam, Triple Expansion 533 NHP
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: In naval service, 126
Armament: In naval service, 3 x 6 pdrs
Notes: Dimensions from Lloyd's Register, 1906 & 1914

SS Ancon was an American steamship that became the first ship to officially transit the Panama Canal in 1914. The steamer began life as the SS Shawmut, built for the Boston Steamship Line in 1902.[1] About 1910 she was purchased by the Panama Railroad Company to provide shipping required for the construction of the Panama Canal. The name was changed to Ancon after Ancon Hill and Ancon township in Panama, home to the head of the Canal Commission.

Ancon and her sister ship Cristobal played a crucial role in building the canal, bringing workers and supplies, notably massive amounts of cement, from New York to Panama for the construction project.[2]

On August 15, 1914 Ancon made the first official transit of the canal as part the canal's opening ceremonies. (Her sister ship Cristobal had made the first unofficial transit on August 3, delivering a load of cement, while an old French crane boat Alexandre La Valley had crossed the canal from the Atlantic in stages during construction, finally reaching the Pacific on January 7.)[3]

Ancon was acquired by the United States Navy from the US Army just after the end of World War One and fitted out as USS Ancon (ID-1467), a troop transport to return Americans home.[4]

The Panama Railroad Company replaced SS Ancon in 1938 with a second SS Ancon, a larger steam turbine cargo liner which later saw considerable action as US Navy Transport USS Ancon in World War Two.


  1. Lloyd's Register, 1906
  2. David McCullough, The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914, Simon and Shuster (1977) p. 594
  3. McCullough, p. 607-609
  4. USS Ancon ID-1467, Navsource Online

See also