What Concrete Ships Lie at Guam?
Background : There were several dozen concrete ships built for WW2. They were
barges in that they were unpowered, but their profile looked like any other merchant ship.
They were towed to an island and became a ready-made store house.
Do you wonder how a concrete ship can float ? Well, steel is another building material that does not float, yet a lot of warships had several feet of thickness of it along their waterline.
These ships were given the type classification of IX which is "miscellaneous auxilary" or any otherwise unclassified ship type from yachts to memorials.
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005
Subject: IX in Guam
My name is Marc D__. I'm retired AF and am
researching a wreck in Guam's Apra Harbor.
I'm looking for contact to help me identify the name
of a popular wreck dive. Currently she's called the
'American Tanker' but on-line research IDs her as an
IX class. I think I have her down to 3 possible names.
Before I babble on too much, I wonder if you can
help guide me towards some folks to help me finish her
ID and restoring her name as well as her story.
There is considerable information about warships, some about,
military auxiliaries. Obvioiusly the task becomes easier if you have a ship name or ship number, IX-??. Search of the NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER using the two bits you have given me, IX and Guam, finds 1,914 matches which include every reference to the two ships named Guam, mentions every ship that ever pulled into Guam, and Roman Numeral 9. You might try the names you suspect.
I guess I would start by reading the stories of the IX ships and see if any are listed as ending derelict in Guam. Some lists from my FAQ page include:
IX -- unclassified miscellaneous auxiliary ship.
If she is a concrete ship used as a sea break, the task is easier,
see concrete ship
Then I'd look into the Island of Guam for tourist information.
Date: Tue, February 7, 2006 9:16 pm
Subject: Re: IX in Guam
Sorry for the long delay but at your last I was deployed and without my notes. I
have some extensive homework on the IX while I lived on Guam (97-02).
I did visit the USNPS 'War in the Pacific' staff. I do have a copy of the NPS
SCRU surveys of Micronesia and Bikini. I have sat for hours in the MARC at the
Univ of Guam and have 25th CB yearbook and 5NCB daily logs. I've interviewed 2
authors on Guam, who've posted on web and their story timelines don't plane out.
I've surfed the web 12 ways to Sunday.
What I know is: Guam liberation battles Jul - Aug 44. 5-6 concrete supply
barges placed (after stores emptied) as part of breakwater construction between
28 Aug-4 Oct 44. Storm (non-Typhoon) 4-8 Oct displaces most barges off banks.
Now, instead of filling you with more research details. Here's what I had
originally hoped for:
1. I've narrowed poss IDs to 3: IX-151 "Silica", IX-154 "Bauxite", IX-160
"Marl" All B7-D1 barges. Any disposition on them to eliminate further? Any
logs, photos, reunions or contacts of ship & men who served.
2. Commodore William M. Quigley commanded (SOPA) Apra harbor Aug-? 44. Looking
for records (or source of copies:) of their business (harbor master logs, etc..).
Also of contacts or reunions of people on that staff.
3. "William Ward Burrows" Base ship (also Flag for Commodore Quigley, SOPA) to
Apra Harbor ops. Logs, contacts, reunions of same.
4. "LUZON" (ARG-2). Commodore Quigley moved flag to her - unknown date. Logs,
5. 2 possible tow ships for my IX:
a. ATF108 PAKANA - contact, logs, reunions
b. ARS-34 USS GEAR, Service Sqdn 10 placed concert barges on Calalan bank (now
Glass Breakwater) Aug 1944. contact, logs, reunions.
6. 25th CBs and 5NCB circa Aug - Oct 44 contacts, reunions, ...
7. Hopper Dredge "Haines" places 2nd concrete barge on Cabris Island on 4 Sep 44.
Contact, logs, reunions...
Point me in a direction to material or people. How to make an announcement to help
find people in this research and story. I want to put a name to the ship and get
it truly recognized.
Here is the only help I am able to offer.
A relatively new USN website shows:
Silica (IX-151) was driven aground in Okinawa's Buckner Bay on 9 October by a typhoon. A Board of Inquiry found her damaged beyond economical repair and recommended that she be destroyed or sunk in deep water. Silica was decommissioned on 30 November 1945 and struck from the Navy list on 3 January 1946.
About Ascella (AK-137) ... In addition to serving as station stores ship issuing supplies to various units of the fleet, she also provided berthing spaces for transient sailors. After transferring what remained of her cargo to Silica (IX-151) on 11 September, Ascella ...
About Relief (AH-1) ... arrived at Eniwetok 3 September and transferred 175 tons of medical stores to medical stores barge Silica (IX-151) for the use of Service Squadron 10.
Bauxite (IX-154) -- page under construction
Decommissioned before the end of the War : IX-178 Banshee 1944 4500 ex-SS Fairbanks. IX-199 Barcelo 1944 80 Converted from YP IX-161, Barite 1944 5636 Maritime Commission B7-D1 barge, IX-154 Bauxite 1944 5636 Maritime Commission B7-D1 barge, ...
Marl (IX-160) in convoy bound for Okinawa. A vicious typhoon dispersed the convoy north of the Philippines 29 September, and mountainous seas parted Marl front her towline early the next day. She was recovered following the storm and towed to Subic Bay 7 October. She underwent repairs to damaged machinery and continued duty as cargo stores barge until 2 August 1946 when she was placed out of service and delivered to WSA. Her name was struck from the Navy list 15 August 1946. Marl was sold by the Maritime Commission to the Asia Development Corp. 4 September 1948.
USCS Log 1999 Index --
This Index lists items of permanent or long term reference from Volume 66, # 1-12 of the USCS Log. Items are listed by subject and author for regular monthly features.
Subject / Article Author Mo/Yr/Page
MARL (IX-160) answer, Letters to the Editor Finnegan, Greg Mar 99, 11
I will create a webpage in the concrete ships section of the website,
but probably not anytime soon -- and put it as a mystery and see if anybody responds. We did get a couple of emails about the Ice Cream Ship.
Keep me posted.
Subject: IX info
Date : Wed, February 8, 2006
Thanks for the info. This makes the Bauxite the leader but does poise the
question about the type of the other B4-D5. I haven't had opportunity to make measurements
on the other concrete hull near-by. It's shallow so not a popular dive site and
a hard climb down the break water inner (wooded) wall. More Streamlined and
longer than B7-D1. But that's a sperate project.
Would you be interested in what info I do have on the other IXs? For your site?
My searches stopped after I was able to determine they where off Guam after Oct'44.
The next step is find more info on Bauxite and the breakwater building.
Maybe even those who served. Any contact would help.
Again, Thanks for this much. Each step really helps.
Of course I want your research. We seem to be the only general source about WW2 concrete ships on the web. You bring up several other subjects. Do you have a picture of the "other concrete hull near-by ...a hard climb down" which I take to mean has surface exposure. How about any underwater pictures (postcards?) of what you think might be Bauxite?
Date : Thu, September 7, 2006
Subject : Concrete barges on Guam
I have been following the posts
on the concrete ships here on Guam. I run a dive shop here
(mdaguam.com) and also produce a local TV show on diving.
One of the segments we are doing is on the Glas breakwater construction
and all of the various wrecks in the vicinity. While doing the research
on the separate barge (that is configured as a liquid transport -- no
hatches above wide open holds) there seems to be extremely little know
I've been diving on this wreck for many years so if I can help in any
way to identify it -- or -- anyone has any other info other than whats
on the internet, etc. I'd appreciate it.
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Last updated on February 9, 2006
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