USNS Potomac (T-AO-150)

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Career (USA)
Name: USNS Potomac
Namesake: The Potomac River in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Builder: Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania
Laid down: 9 June 1955
Launched: 8 October 1956
In service: 30 January 1957-26 September 1961
Fate: Destroyed by fire 26 September 1961
Notes: Stern of ship salvaged and used in construction of tanker SS Shenandoah, which later became fleet oiler USNS Potomac (T-AO-181)
General characteristics
Class and type: Maumee-class fleet oiler
Displacement: 7,814 tons light
32,953 tons full load
Length: 614 feet 6 inches (187.30 m)
Beam: 83 ft 6 in (25.45 m)
Draft: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbine, one shaft
Speed: 18.9 knots (35 km/hr)
Capacity: 190,000 barrels
Complement: 44 to 52
Armament: none

USNS Potomac (T-AO-150) was a United States Navy Maumee-class oiler in non-commissioned service with the Military Sea Transportation Service, later Military Sealift Command, from 1957 to 1961.

Potomac, fifth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name, was laid down at Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Chester, Pennsylvania, on 9 June 1955 and launched on 8 October 1956, sponsored by Mrs. T. H. Robbins, Jr. She entered non-commissioned U.S. Navy service under the control of the Military Sea Transport Service (MSTS), with a primarily civilian crew on 30 January 1957.

Potomac carried fuel oil and aviation fuel to the United States armed forces overseas until 26 September 1961, when she was wracked by fire and a series of explosions while alongside the Aviation Fuels Terminal Pier at Morehead City, North Carolina. Two men were killed in the explosions, and the forward part of the ship was declared a total loss. A disastrous waterfront fire was avoided by the prompt heroic action of Potomac crew members, United States Coast Guard personnel, and U.S. Marines, who prevented the fire from igniting large fuel storage tanks adjacent to the pier.

The 200-foot (61-meter) stern section of the ship was cut away and towed to Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Newport News, Virginia, for salvage. A new bow and forebody was constructed at Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Chester, Pennsylvania and welded there to the salvaged stern section, with the bridge and crew accommodations aft. The reconstructed ship, SS Shenandoah, entered service in 1965 and became USNS Potomac (T-AO-181) in 1976 when purchased by the Military Sealift Command

See also