Salvaging ship at Morehead City

Salvaging ship at Morehead City
Tugboats and equipment working on the hull of the tanker Potomac after a fire gutted it in Morehead Harbor. Date from negative sleeve.
August 20, 1962
Original Format
12cm x 10cm
Local Identifier
Location of Original
East Carolina Manuscript Collection
Copyright held by Joyner Library. Permission to reuse this work is granted for all non-commercial purposes.

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Ken Harbit Jun 23 2015

US Naval Ship (USNS) Potomac (T-AO-150) was a United States Navy Maumee-class oiler in non-commissioned service with the Military Sea Transportation Service and later the Military Sealift Command, from 1957 to 1961.Potomac carried fuel oil and aviation fuel to the US armed forces overseas until September 26, 1961, when she caught fire and a suffered 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.A 200-foot 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.

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