Fort Mercer, an American flag T2, left Norco, La 19520212
loaded with heating oil and kerosene, for Portland, Maine.
Crew of 43(?), all Americans.
Ran into a Force 9 (occaisionally 10) noreaster off Cape Cod.
Decided to hove to about 25 miles off Cape Cod.
At 0800 on 1952-02-18, crew heard the hull cracking,
and oil begain spilling.
At 1015, there was another loud crack.
At 1140, a third crack and ship split in two
in way of No 5 tanks, starting on the starboard side.
Sea water temp was about 40F.
Of the 9 men in the forward section,
5 were saved, due to extraordinary efforts
on part of Coast Guard cutters.
The stern section floated more or less evenly
and was semi-maneuverable.
21 of 33 aft elected to abandon ship,
and were taken off safely, mostly via great seamanship
by the Coast Guard salvage tug Acushnet,
commanded by Lt Cmd John Joseph.
Jospeh manuevered the Achusnet under the stern
of the Fort Mercer, and 18 men merely stepped
off when the waves brought the two ships
to the same level.
Bow section eventually turned turtle
and was sunk by USCG gun fire and depth charges.
Stern section with 12 men still on board
was towed into into Newport,
with some of the cargo still on board.
The picture on page 143 clearly shows
this was a brittle fracture.
This section was then became the stern of
a tanker called the San Jacinto.
In March, 1964, the San Jacinto split in two
after an explosion while in ballast
off the eastern shore of Virginia.