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USS Alpaco (1918)
USS Alpaco.jpg
USS Alpaco in port in late 1918.
Career (United States)
Name: USS Alpaco
Namesake: Previous name retained
Builder: Hodge Shipbuilding Company, Moss Point, Mississippi
Completed: 1918
Acquired: 18 November 1918
Commissioned: 18 November 1918
Decommissioned: 19 December 1918
Struck: 20 January 1919
Fate: Transferred to United States Shipping Board 19 December 1918; scrapped by mid-1924
Notes: Under U.S. Shipping Board control as SS Alpaco 1918–1924
General characteristics
Type: Cargo ship
Tonnage: 2,500 gross tons
Length: 268 ft 0 in (81.69 m)
Beam: 45 ft 2 in (13.77 m)
Draft: 23 ft 6 in (7.16 m) mean
Propulsion: Steam engine
Speed: 10 knots
Complement: 57
Armament: None

USS Alpaco was a cargo ship that served in the United States Navy from November to December 1918.

SS Alpaco was built in 1918 as a wooden-hulled commercial cargo ship by the Hodge Shipbuilding Company at Moss Point, Mississippi, for the United States Shipping Board. Upon completion, she was transferred to the U.S. Navy, which took possession of her on 18 November 1918 and commissioned her the same day as USS Alpaco at the Navy Yard Dock in New Orleans, Louisiana, with Lieutenant Commander Nils A. Nelson, USNRF, in command. She was never given a naval registry identification number, but was assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and earmarked for coastwise service.

The Navy conducted sea trials of Alpaco on 3 December 1918 with representatives of Hodge Shipbuilding on board. She was unable to maintain maximum revolutions for her engines, and a fire broke out in a coal bunker that took a little over 45 minutes to extinguish, the firefighters having to rip off the galvanized sheet iron from the engine room bulkhead to enable them to use their hoses to better advantage. Alpaco had to be assisted back into her berth by the tug USS Underwriter.

Condemned as "unseaworthy" after this fiasco, Alpaco remained pierside at her berth until decommissioned there on 19 December 1918 and simultaneously returned to the U.S. Shipping Board. As SS Alpaco, she remained in the Shipping Board's hands until she was scrapped by mid-1924.

References

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