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S.S. Mercer Victory Jim Buoy Life Ring Merchant Marine


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Hi guys. Just wanted an advice on this Jim Buoy Life Ring. It is 30" I got it at the Estate Sale here in the SF Bay Area, but no story behind it. Is that really a WW2?


victory ship3.jpg

victory ship1.jpg

victory ship2.jpg

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Salvage Sailor

Nope, Vietnam era, looks like the date of manufacture is 1968 (or 1963)


Jim Buoy has only been around for 50+ years and is still in operation in California.  The scratched off line had the company address, Cal-June Inc. 5238 Vineland Avenue, North Hollywood, CA.  SS MERCER VICTORY was being outfitted for service in the MARAD fleet but the contract was cancelled and she was scrapped in 1973.  This probably was stripped from the ship at Suisun Bay (near San Francisco) before she went to the breakers.  Nice life ring (life preserver) and in good shape as it hardly ever went to sea.


Also, this life preserver came from the second MERCER VICTORY, the first one was torpedoed and lost in 1942 (photo below)




Laid down as Waxhaw by Merchant Shipbuilding Corp., Harriman PA. She was completed during September 1919 as Mercer Victory for the US Shipping Board. She was a 5500 ton steam turbine merchant with a service speed of11 knots.
She was later laid up as part of the Reserve Fleet and taken out of moth-balls in 1941 when sold to Alcoa Ss Co., Inc., New York where she was renamed Alcoa Rambler.
On 15 December 1942 she was sailing on voyage USA-Trinidad-Santos, Brazil with a cargo of 7243 tons of coal.
She was under the command of Master Ernest Henke and had left Trinidad as part of a convoy but after three days dispersed in order to proceed independently. She steered a zigzag course for four days but at 02.00 hours she was hit by a torpedo from U-174 on the port side at No 3 hold. She immediately listed to port and one seaman jumped overboard but unfortunately drowned.
Within five minutes the crew of 8 officers, 32 men and 15 armed guards, who manned the 5 inch and four 20mm guns, began abandoning ship in two lifeboats and four rafts.
U-174 fired a second torpedo which hit the port side amidships, breaking her in two and she sank stern first 200 miles northeast of Natal.
On 17 December one lifeboat with 25 survivors commanded by the master reached Natal. The second lifeboat with 29 men arrived 11 hours later.
U-174 was sunk with all hands on 27 April 1943 south of Newfoundland by depth charges from a US Ventura aircraft.

Photograph belongs to Stuart Smith.
Photographer unknown.


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