USNS Petrolite (T-AO-164)

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Name: USNS Petrolite
Builder: Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pennsylvania
Laid down: 12 October 1943
Launched: 13 January 1944
Acquired: 31 January 1944
In service: November 1956
Out of service: 5 September 1957
Struck: 5 September 1957
Fate: Sold into commercial service, 18 April 1969
General characteristics
Type: Suamico-class fleet oiler
Displacement: 5,782 long tons (5,875 t) light
21,880 long tons (22,231 t) full
Length: 523 ft 6 in (159.56 m)
Beam: 68 ft (21 m)
Draft: 30 ft (9.1 m)
Propulsion: Turbo-electric, single screw, 8,000 hp (5,966 kW)
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
Capacity: 140,000 barrels
Complement: 251
Armament: None

USNS Petrolite (T-AO-164) was a Suamico-class T2 tanker laid down on 12 October 1943 under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1723). The ship was built at Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. in Chester, Pennsylvania (hull number 390). Launched on 13 January 1944; the ship was delivered to the United States Navy at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 31 January 1944.

Service history

World War II, 1944–1945

As SS Hanging Rock she operating briefly out of Philadelphia, transporting oil between various east coast ports. Transferring her operations to the Pacific during the closing months of the war, she transported oil to many of America's island bastions. With the end of hostilities she was laid up in the Maritime Commission Reserve Fleet at Puget Sound, Olympia, Washington, and renamed Petrolite in 1946.

Re-activation , 1956–1957

In November 1956 the tanker was activated by the Maritime Commission for charter to the Military Sea Transportation Service as USNS Petrolite (T–AO–164). She operated under contract with a civilian crew until 5 September 1957, when she was struck from the Navy List and again laid up with the Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet at Olympia.


Petrolite was sold to Sea-Land Service, Inc., on 18 April 1969 and converted into a containerized cargo ship at Todd Shipyards Corp., San Francisco. When completed, it was renamed Seattle.