SKATE USS (SSN-578)

Built as a nuclear submarine under yard no 147 by Electric Boat Co, Groton for the USA Navy.
18 July 1955 ordered.
21 July 1955 laid down.
16 May 1957 launched as the USS SKATE (SSN-578)
Displacement 2,590 ton surfaced, 2,894 ton submerged, dim. 81.56 x 7.6 m,
Powered by S3W nuclear reactor, geared steam turbines, two shafts, 6,600 shp (4,900 kW)., twin shafts, speed 15.5 knots surfaced, 18 knots submerged.
Armament: 8 – 21 inch torpedo tubes, 6 forward and 2 aft.
Crew 84.
23 December 1957 commissioned.

USS SKATE (SSN-578), the third submarine of the United States Navy named for the SKATE, a type of ray, was the lead ship of the Skate class of nuclear submarines. She was the third nuclear submarine commissioned, the first to make a completely submerged trans-Atlantic crossing, and the second submarine to reach the North Pole and the first to surface there.

The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat division of General Dynamics on 18 July 1955, and her keel was laid in Groton, Connecticut on 21 July 1955. She was launched on 16 May 1957 sponsored by Mrs. Lewis L. Strauss, and commissioned on 23 December 1957 with Commander James F. Calvert in command.

Operational history
SKATE conducted shakedown training out of New London, Connecticut until 29 January 1958, when she cruised to the Bermuda operating area, then returned to her home port on 8 February. Sixteen days later, the nuclear powered submarine set a course for the Isle of Portland, England. Before returning home, she had also visited ports in France and the Netherlands.
On 30 July, SKATE sought the Arctic where she operated under the ice for 10 days. During this time, she surfaced nine times through the ice, navigated over 2,400 miles (3,900 km) under it, and on 11 August, 9:47 pm EDT (the week after USS NAUTILUS ) became the second sea ship to reach the North Pole. SKATE was unable to surface precisely at the Pole on the August voyage due to dangerous ice conditions as noted in the captain's 1960 book, Surface at the Pole: The Extraordinary Voyages of the USS SKATE, where Calvert said, "Seldom had the ice seemed so heavy and so thick as it did in the immediate vicinity of the pole. For days we had searched in vain for a suitable opening to surface in." The closest was to make radio contact at the surface from a polynya around 30 nm away, but not to surface fully owing to the risk of damage from ice. SKATE did manage to surface and make contact with Drifting Ice Station Alpha at 85ºN, 300 nm away.
After being denied access to visit Copenhagen in Denmark, she sailed into Bergen, Norway on 23 August. There she was inspected by king Olav V of Norway, US ambassador Frances E. Willis and minister of defence Nils Handal. The submarine made port calls in the Netherlands, Belgium, and France before returning to New London on 25 September 1958. In recognition of the dangerous and historic feat, the SKATE and its crew was given the Navy Unit Commendation award for "... braving the hazards of the polar ice pack...."
While the SKATE was unable to surface on its first voyage to the pole, on 17 March 1959, she became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole with Calvert describing the historic moment in his book, saying, "Slowly we blew the tanks and the SKATE moved reluctantly upward. It was apparent we were under heavier ice here than any we had experienced before." While at the pole, Calvert and the crew planted an American Flag in a cairn they built out of ice blocks and put a waterproof container in the cairn with a note commemorating the event. The crew also held a ceremony for the late Arctic explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins and committed his ashes at the pole. In 1931, Sir Hubert had conducted an Arctic expedition in the disarmed research submarine NAUTILUS (ex-USS O-12). After reaching the Pole, the SKATE continued its mission to pioneer arctic operations during periods of extreme cold and maximum ice thickness. When the submarine returned to port, she was awarded a bronze star in lieu of a second Navy Unit Commendation for demonstrating "... for the first time the ability of submarines to operate in and under the Arctic ice in the dead of winter...." In the fall of 1959 and in 1960, SKATE participated in exercises designed to strengthen American antisubmarine defenses.

SKATE returned to General Dynamics in January 1961 for a regular overhaul and to have her reactor refueled for the first time. She put to sea in August and, for the next 11 months, conducted exercises to increase the operational readiness of her crew.
On 7 July 1962, SKATE again set course towards the North Pole. Five days later, USS SEADRAGON , did likewise from Pearl Harbor. The two submarines made their rendezvous on 31 July. After meeting, they operated together for over a week. Both submarines surfaced at the North Pole on 2 August and official greetings and insignia of Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet and Submarine Force Pacific Fleet were exchanged.
SKATE returned to New London and performed fleet and local operations for the next several years. She entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 28 April 1965, the first nuclear submarine overhauled there, for nuclear refueling and installation of the SUBSAFE package. SKATE was the first submarine to finish this major conversion program, which was instituted after the loss of USS THRESHER in 1963. The process was not completed until September 1967.

After sea trials and a shakedown cruise in the Caribbean, the submarine returned to New London and participated in exercises involved in the development of new undersea tactics and equipment.
In October 1968, SKATE was deployed to the Mediterranean where she operated with the Sixth Fleet for two months. The polar veteran operated under the Arctic ice again in March and April 1969, in October 1970, and in February 1971 . The remainder of her at sea time was spent in various Atlantic Fleet and NATO exercises. In July 1971, she began her third regular overhaul at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and did not return to New London until 17 November 1973. In August 1974, SKATE operated as a unit of the Atlantic Fleet.

In late 1977, SKATE transferred to Pearl Harbor, where she joined the other three SKATE class submarines as a member of Submarine Squadron 7.

Decommissioning
SKATE was decommissioned on 12 September 1986, stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 30 October 1986, and disposed of by submarine recycling at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on 6 March 1995.

Awards
SKATE received two Navy Unit Commendations and three Meritorious Unit Commendations during her career. The first Navy Unit Commendation was for the period 9–12 August 1958 and the second for the period 4 March through 6 April 1959. The Meritorious Unit Commendations were for the periods 24 March through 15 April 1969, 12 October through 18 November 1970 and 26 February through 9 March 1971. (Source – US Navy Unit Awards Webpage.)

Popular culture
SKATE appears in Tom Clancy's 1993 novel Without Remorse.
SKATE appears in the 1961 film, Parrish as the submarine upon which the title character is stationed.
The 1978 disaster film Gray Lady Down features a fictional SKATE-class submarine USS NEPTUNE.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_SKATE_(SSN-578)
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WAHINE (N.Z.)

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WAHINE (N.Z.)

Postby D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:08 pm

wahine z.png
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TEVWahine.jpg
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Built in 1964-'65 by Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. Govan, Scotland, #830, for Union Steamship Co. of New Zealand, laid down 14-09-'64, launched 14-07-'65, commissioned 12-06-'66.
Completed by Fairfields (Glasgow) Ltd. on new contract signed 06-01-'66 following the collapse of the Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. in October'65.
Ferry passenger/vehicles, Gt:8944, Nt:3951, Dw:1430, Loa:149m. (488') B:22m. (71') Depth:12.65m. (41'6") Draft:5.18m. (17') 4 boilers, 2 AEI turbo-alternators driving 2 AEI propulsion alternators:? hp. twin screw, 22 kn. 6 decks, complement:126, passengers daytime:1050, at night:927 in more than 300 1, 2, 3 and 4 persons cabins, 200 cars, IMO.6519584.
On 18-06-'66 she left Greenock, sailed via Panama Canal, arrived Wellington 24-07-'66, maiden voyage 01-08-'66 from Wellington to Lyttelton.

On the evening of 9 April 1968 she departed from Lyttelton for a routine overnight crossing, carrying 610 passengers and 123 crew.

Extreme weather conditions.
In the early morning of 10 April two violent storms merged over Wellington, creating a single extratropical cyclone that was the worst recorded in New Zealand's history. Cyclone Giselle was heading south after causing much damage in the north of the North Island. It hit Wellington at the same time as another storm that had driven up the West Coast of the South Island from Antarctica. The winds in Wellington were the strongest ever recorded. At one point they reached 275 kilometres per hour (171 mph) and in one Wellington suburb alone ripped off the roofs of 98 houses. Three ambulances and a truck were blown onto their sides when they tried to go into the area to rescue injured people.

As the storms hit Wellington Harbour, WAHINE was making her way out of Cook Strait on the last leg of her journey. Although there were weather warnings when she set out from Lyttelton, there was no indication that storms would be severe or any worse than those often experienced by vessels crossing the Cook Strait

At 05.50 hrs, with winds gusting at between 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) and 155 kilometres per hour (96 mph) Captain Hector Gordon Robertson decided to enter harbour. Twenty minutes later the winds had increased to 160 kilometres per hour (99 mph), and she lost her radar. A huge wave pushed her off course and in line with Barrett Reef. Robertson was unable to turn her back on course, and decided to keep turning around and back out to sea.

For 30 minutes she battled into the waves and wind, but by 06.10 hrs she was not answering her helm and had lost control of her engines. At 0640 hrs she was driven onto the southern tip of Barrett Reef, near the harbour entrance less than a mile from shore. She drifted along the reef, shearing off her starboard propeller and gouging a large hole in her hull on the starboard side of the stern, beneath the waterline. Passengers were told that she was aground but there was no immediate danger. They were directed to don their lifejackets and report to their muster stations as a routine "precautionary measure".

The storm continued to grow more intense. The wind increased to over 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph) and she dragged her anchors and drifted into the harbour. At about 11.00 hrs, close to the western shore at Seatoun, her anchors finally held. At about the same time the tug TAPUHI reached her and tried to attach a line and bring her in tow, but after 10 minutes the line broke. Other attempts failed, but the deputy harbourmaster, Captain Galloway, managed to climb aboard from the pilot boat.

Throughout the morning, the danger of the ship sinking seemed to pass as the vessel's location was in an area where the water depth did not exceed 10 meters (30’), and the crew's worst-case scenario was the clean-up once the vessel either arrived in Wellington or had grounded in shallower water. There was indication that the ship would even sail again that evening as usual, albeit later than scheduled while the damage done by the reef was repaired.


At about 13.15 hrs the combined effect of the tide and the storm swung WAHINE around, providing a patch of clear water sheltered from the wind. As she suddenly listed further and reached the point of no return, Robertson gave the order to abandon ship. In an instance similar to what had occurred during the sinking of the Italian passenger liner ANDREA DORIA off the coast of New England in 1956, the severe starboard list left the four lifeboats on the port side useless: only the four on the starboard side could be launched.

The first starboard motor lifeboat, boat S1, capsized shortly after being launched. Those aboard were thrown into the water, and many were drowned in the rough sea, including two children and several elderly passengers. Survivor Shirley Hick, remembered for losing two of her three children in the disaster, recalled this event vividly, as her three-year-old daughter Alma had drowned in this lifeboat. Some managed to hold onto the overturned boat as it drifted across the harbour to the eastern shore, towards Eastbourne.

The three remaining standard lifeboats, which according to a number of survivors were severely overcrowded, did manage to reach shore. Lifeboat S2 reached Seatoun beach on the western side of the channel with about 70 passengers and crew, as did Lifeboat S4, which was severely overcrowded with over 100 people. Heavily overcrowded Lifeboat S3 landed on the beach near Eastbourne, about 3 miles (5 km) away on the opposite side of the channel.

WAHINE launched her life rafts, but waves up to 6 metres (20’) high capsized some of them and many people were killed. She sank in 38’ (12 m) of water, forcing hundreds of passengers and crew into the rough sea. When the weather cleared, the sight of her foundering in the harbour urged many vessels to race to the scene, including the ferry GMV ARAMOANA, tugs, fishing boats, yachts and small personal craft. They rescued hundreds of people. Over 200 passengers and crew reached the rocky shore of the east side of the channel, south of Eastbourne. As this area was desolate and unpopulated, many survivors were exposed to the elements for several hours while rescue teams tried to navigate the gravel road down the shoreline. It was here that a number of bodies were recovered.
At about 14.30 hrs WAHINE rolled completely onto her starboard side.
Some of the survivors reached the shore only to die of exhaustion or exposure. Fifty-one people died at the time, and two more died later from their injuries, 53 victims in all. Most of the victims were middle-aged or elderly, but included three children; they died from drowning, exposure or injuries from being battered on the rocks. Forty-six bodies were found; 566 passengers were safe, as were 110 crew, and six were missing.

Early hopes that she could be salvaged were abandoned when the magnitude of structural damage became clear. As the wreck was a navigational hazard, preparations were made over the next year to refloat her and tow her into Cook Strait for scuttling. However a similar storm in 1969 broke up the wreck, and it was dismantled (partly by the HIKITIA floating crane) where it lay.

(New Zealand 2018)
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D. v. Nieuwenhuijzen
 
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Re: WAHINE (N.Z.)

Postby aukepalmhof » Wed May 16, 2018 11:19 pm

2018 Wahine-Anniversary_MinSht.png
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For the 50th Anniversary of the loss of the New Zealander ferry WAHINI (the name means Maori woman or wife.) the New Zealand post issued a set of stamps and a miniature sheet. The New Zealand post did give by the issues:
In the early hours of the morning on 10 April 1968, Wellington Harbour was encroaching on the near horizon. With the wind blowing at 50 knots, a common stiff breeze in Wellington terms, Captain Robertson made the decision to enter the narrow entrance to the harbour. On entering, the wind suddenly picked up and dramatically increased to a powerful 100 knots. Huge waves slammed the ship, forcing it towards Barrett Reef. With the radar system having failed, the Captain attempted to manoeuvre the ship back out to sea.
The storm continued to wreak havoc, dragging the ship along the reef, causing further damage, and preventing rescuers from approaching it. Its ferocity also delayed the captain’s decision to abandon ship, as he believed that people would be safer on board.
The first survivors began washing up on Seatoun foreshore, and others were plucked out of the water by boats waiting nearby. Most of those tossed into the waves were swept to Eastbourne’s rocky foreshore, where slips prevented rescuers reaching them quickly, and many suffered through being exposed to the harsh, deteriorating conditions. Many would ask how such a tragedy could occur right on the doorstep of the nation's capital. But it did and while a storm raged, many of the people in Wellington at the time went to watch the foundering of the WAHINE unfold. News reports quickly spread across the country making this one of the most documented tragedies of our time. These stamps show the WAHINE in all her glory and the sequence of how the day played out. The newspaper headings on the stamps are fictitious but acknowledge the role media played in telling the story.
Individual Stamps

$1.00 - World's Finest Drive-on Vessel
The WAHINE as photographed by Warwick Pryce during a berthing manoeuvre in Wellington Harbour. Described by the Union Steamship Company as the world’s finest drive-on passenger vessel, the WAHINE could carry around 1,000 passengers and 200 cars, servicing the Wellington to Lyttelton route for 20 months before she foundered.

$1.00 - WAHINE in Trouble
When the full force of Cyclone Giselle struck Wellington early in the morning of 10 April the WAHINE was on the final leg of the journey from Lyttelton to Wellington. As the ship reached the entrance to Wellington Harbour she lost control and was soon forced onto Barrett Reef, taking on water through a large hole below the waterline.

$2.00 - Waiting to Abandon Ship
Sharon Major and daughter Sarah with husband Murray, waiting to evacuate from the WAHINE. More than six hours elapsed between the first striking of Barrett Reef and the eventual order to abandon ship, with passengers holding onto hope the WAHINE would remain floating. They would be given the order to evacuate early afternoon when the starboard list became too much.

$2.20 - Lifeboats Make Land
As the WAHINE listed heavily to starboard the lifeboats on the port side of the vessel became inoperable, leaving just four starboard lifeboats able to be launched. The first of these would be swamped soon after entering the harbour waters, the remaining three overcrowded boats reaching the shore at Seatoun and Eastbourne.

$2.70 - Hundreds Rescued from Wellington Harbour
As the light improved and the weather cleared the predicament of the WAHINE reached rescuers in Wellington, with many vessels racing to the scene to pluck survivors from the harbour. Others reached the rocky coast of Eastbourne by themselves, or were carried onto Seatoun foreshore. Here policeman Ray Ruane holds a young survivor by the jetty, surrounded by other police and members of the public.

$3.30 – ARANUI Passes WAHINE Wreck
The WAHINE would roll over to starboard for the last time mid-afternoon, and lay on the sea floor in thirty-eight feet of water. Salvage operations were underway within two weeks, but the magnitude of the damage made a full recovery impossible, and plans were made to tow the wreck into Cook Strait. Before that could happen a second powerful storm in 1969 would break the hull up, and further salvage took place where she lay.
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