USNS Eltanin (T-AK-270)

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Career (United States)
Name: USS Eltanin
Namesake: A star in the constellation Draco
Builder: Avondale Marine Ways, Inc., Avondale, Louisiana
Laid down: date unknown as type (C1-ME2-13a) hull
Launched: 16 January 1957
Acquired: by the U.S. Navy, October 1957
In service: October 1957 by MSTS as USNS Eltanin (T-AK-270)
Out of service: date unknown
Reclassified: Oceanographic Research Vessel (T-AGOR-8), 23 August 1962
Struck: not known
Fate: transferred to Argentina in 1974
Career (Argentina) 100x35px
Name: ARA Islas Orcadas
Acquired: 1974
Fate: scrapped, 1979
General characteristics
Type: cargo ship (icebreaker)
Tonnage: 1,850 tons
Tons burthen: 3,886 tons
Length: 266'
Beam: 52'
Draft: 18'
Propulsion: diesel electric, two shafts, 3,200hp
Speed: 13 knots
Complement: 18 civilians, 15 scientific party, 6 Navy
Armament: none indicated

USNS Eltanin (T-AK-270/T-AGOR-8) was a Eltanin-class cargo ship with an ice-breaking hull acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1957 and then operated by the Navy in a non-commissioned status. Her designation was changed to that of an oceanographic research ship in 1962 when she operated in Antarctic waters.

Built in Avondale, Louisiana

Eltanin (T-AK-270) was launched on 16 January 1957 by Avondale Marine Ways, Inc., Avondale, Louisiana. She was turned over to the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) in October 1957 for operation in a noncommissioned status.

Conversion to research ship

On 23 August 1962 her classification was changed to Oceanographic Research Vessel and designated T-AGOR-8.

Antarctic duty

Eltanin, under the direction of the National Science Foundation, and operated by the Military Sea Transportation Service, operated in the Antarctic Ocean, and became the first Antarctic research ship to do so.


Eltanin was place out of service at an unknown date and struck from the Naval Vessel Register, also at an unknown date, and transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet. In 1974 she was transferred to the Argentine Navy and renamed ARA Islas Orcadas. She was later disposed of by the Argentine Navy in 1979.

See also