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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

USNS Vela (T-AK-89)
USPRS Joe C. Specker (1945 - 1952)

Enceladus Class Cargo Ship:
  • Originally designated MV Charles A. Ranlett, a Maritime Commission type (N3-M-A1) hull to be built under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 652) at Penn-Jersey Shipbuilding Co., Camden, N.J.
  • Renamed Vela (AK-89), 30 October 1942
  • Acquired from the Maritime Commission by the US Navy, 1 January 1943
  • Laid down, 5 June 1944
  • Launched, 15 January 1945
  • Reassigned to the US Army
  • Delivered to the US Army 17 January 1945
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 8 February 1945
  • Completed as a Port Rehabilitation vessel and renamed Joe C. Specker
  • Declared surplus by the US Army, returned to the Maritime Commission, 27 August 1947, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Transferred to the Navy's Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) 11 June 1952
  • Placed in service as USNS Vela (T-AK-89), 12 June 1952
  • Placed out of service, date unknown
  • Transferred to the Maritime Administration for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, Hudson River
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, 17 January 1971, to Hierros Ardes, S.A., Spain, c/o Boston Metals, (MARAD sale PD-X-888, dated 23 November 1970) in a four ship deal) for $267,070.00
    Displacement 4,023 t.(lt) 14,550 t.(fl)
    Length 441' 6"
    Beam 56' 11"
    Draft 28' 4"
    Speed 12.5 kts.
    Officers 16
    Enlisted 190
    Cargo Capacity 7,750 DWT
    non-refrigerated 400,000 Cu ft
    Largest Boom Capacity 50 t.
    one single 5"/38 cal dual purpose gun mount
    one single 3"/50 cal dual purpose gun mount
    two single 40mm AA gun mounts
    six single 20mm AA gun mounts
    Fuel Capacity
    NSFO 7,285 Bbls
    one Joshua-Hendy vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine
    two Babcock & Wilcox header-type boilers, 220psi 450°
    Ship's Service Generators
    three recip-drive 20Kw 120V D.C.
    one turbo-drive 60Kw 120V D.C.
    single propeller, 2,500shp

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    Size Image Description Contributed
    US Army Joe C. Specker
    Vela 97k US Army Joe C. Specker at anchor, location unknown. Bow horns for lifting diving and salvage equipment, and plenty of machine shops ultimately made these ships useful to the Army.
    US Navy photo from the U.S. Naval Institute.
    Photo and text from "U.S. Army Ships and Watercraft of World War II" by David H. Grover.
    Robert Hurst
    USNS Vela (T-AK-89)
    Vela 82k USNS Vela (T-AK-89) underway circa mid-1950s in MSTS service. She was similar in appearance to USNS Sagitta (T-AK-87), except that her Army cathead had been removed.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # unknown, courtesy
    Mike Green

    USNS Vela (T-AK-86)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 29 June 2012