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NavSource Online: Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Bali (ID 2483)


  • Built in 1917 by Rotterdam Droogd. Maats. (Rotterdam Dry Dock Co.), Rotterdam, The Netherlands for the Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (Steamship Society Netherlands/Netherlands Steamship Company) of Rotterdam
  • Launched in 1917
  • Seized by customs officials at New York City under Proclamation 1436 of 20 March 1918
  • Acquired by the Navy 21 March 1918
  • Commissioned USS Bali (ID 2483), 27 March 1918
  • Decommissioned 30 May 1919 at Rotterdam, struck from the Navy Registry and returned to her owners
  • Acquired in 1932 by Georges Portolo of Ithaca, Greece and renamed Max Wolf
  • Bombed by German Luftwaffe aircraft 9 June 1940 off the coast of France and grounded to prevent sinking
  • Scrapped in 1951.


  • Displacement 17,300 t.
  • Length 420' 6"
  • Beam 54' 8"
  • Draft 29' 3"
  • Speed 12 kts.
  • Complement 70
  • Armament: One 5" mount and one 6-pounder
  • Propulsion: One triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    SS Bali
    Bali 136k Photographed circa 1917-1918, with Dutch neutrality markings on her bow.
    U.S. Navy photo NH 64592
    Naval Historical Center
    USS Bali (ID 2483)
    Bali 104k Ship's enlisted crew members pose on her foredeck, circa Winter-Spring 1919
    Panoramic photograph, taken by the Taylor Studio, Norfolk, Virginia. Donation of Ted Stone
    Naval History and Heritage Command photo NH 104595
    Robert Hurst

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History:


    Bali is an island in Indonesia

    Bali was a cargo vessel launched in 1917 by Rotterdam Droogd. Maats., Rotterdam, Netherlands; acquired for the Naval Overseas Transportation Service 21 March 1918; and commissioned 27 March 1918 at New York, Lieutenant Commander N. Ferguson, USNRF, in command.

    Upon commissioning she immediately loaded a cargo of Army supplies and sailed for St. Nazaire. Bali operated in European waters until May 1919. She was placed out of commission at Amsterdam, Holland, 30 May 1919 and returned to her former owner.

    Addendum to Ships History:

    Bali a single screw steel-hulled freighter completed in 1917 at Rotterdam, the Netherlands by the Rotterdam Dry Dock Co. for the Stoomvaart Mattschappij Nederland was seized by customs officials at New York City under Proclamation 1436 of 20 March 1918 (40 Stat. 1761); inspected by the Navy at New York on 23 March 1918; assigned the identification number (Id. No.) 2483; and commissioned at New York on 27 March, Lt. Comdr. Norman Ferguson, USNRF, in command.

    Assigned to the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) on an Army Account, Bali began loading cargo less than two hours after going into commission. She completed the evolution, as well as the bunkering of her fuel, by 1630 on 1 April 1918. Sailing two hours later to chase and join a convoy that had left the harbor five hours earlier, Bali developed engineering difficulties that compelled her to anchor off Tompkinsville, Staten Island, to carry
    out repairs.

    First voyage to France

    Underway again on 9 April with another convoy, Bali still failed to maintain speed well enough to keep pace, and she had to put in at Halifax, Nova Scotia, for repairs on 16 April. She resumed her voyage once again on 28 April; and this time, Bali reached Brest, France, on 14 May despite a rough passage.

    She steamed thence to St. Nazaire the following day, but a crowded harbor kept her waiting for a berth. Finally able to discharge a portion of her cargo, she left St. Nazaire for Nantes on 6 June, where labor conditions were such that German prisoners of war had to be employed working the ship's hatches during the unloading process. She finished working her cargo and proceeded down the Loire River early in the evening of 15 June. Bali joined a convoy the following day and, after returning briefly to Brest on 16 June, sailed for the United States on the afternoon of 18 June. She reached Hoboken, New Jersey, on 2 July.

    Second voyage to France

    Taking on board 6,759 tons of general cargo, Bali put to sea for Hampton Roads, Virginia, on 18 July and reached her destination the next day, mooring alongside the battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41) at the Norfolk Navy Yard. While in the yard, Bali received her main and secondary batteries, a 5-inch gun and a 6-pounder that had originally been installed on board the battleship USS Arkansas (BB-31) and the cruiser USS Raleigh (C-8), respectively. Moving out of the yard on the morning of 21 July, she joined a convoy and sailed that afternoon for France.

    On 8 August, a few days before arriving at her destination, Bali observed a steamer on her starboard side sounding a submarine warning and opening fire on a "suspicious object" in the water. Bali opened fire with her forward gun, but apparently neither ship scored any hits. Dropping anchor in Quiberon Bay on 10 August, she proceeded thence first to La Pallice and then to Bordeaux on 13 August. After unloading her cargo, the freighter sailed for New York on 21 August and reached that port on 5 September.

    Third voyage to France

    Sent to Hoboken on 6 September, the ship loaded 6,887 tons of general cargo and underwent repairs to her engines. Following a trial trip on 16 September, she sailed on 18 September for France. Reaching Verdon Roads on 5 October, Bali unloaded a portion of her cargo to a barge before mooring to a dock at Bordeaux on 9 October to finish unloading. She had to wait a number of days for a return convoy to be formed, but Bali finally sailed west again on the afternoon of 24 October and arrived back in New York on 7 November.

    Transporting horses to France

    Word of the impending armistice with the Central Powers delayed the installation of stalls to enable her to serve as a horse transport. Three days after the armistice, however, she was docked at the Bush Docks in Hoboken, New Jersey, where modifications were made to accommodate 600 horses. Bali took the animals on board soon thereafter and loaded 2,551 tons of general cargo before sailing for France on 30 November. Reaching Verdon Roads on 14 December, the ship then proceeded up the Gironde River to Bordeaux on 16 December, where she discharged her cargo and loaded steel rails for ballast. She stood back down the river two days after Christmas of 1918, bound for the United States.

    Bali collides off Sewall's Point

    Bali dropped anchor in Hampton Roads late on 11 January 1919, and shifted to a mooring at Newport News, Virginia, the following day. There, workmen came on board and removed the horse stalls on 13 and 14 January. On the afternoon of 15 January, Bali entered the yard at the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., where her guns were removed.

    From there, she proceeded to the Engineer Depot dock at Lambert's Point on 23 January, where she unloaded the steel rail ballast she had carried from France. The ship then shifted to a berth off Sewall's Point on 28 January. The next day, a flood tide and a strong breeze caused her to drag her anchors and drift down on the freighter Bonafan. The collision caused no great damage to either ship, and Bali steamed away under her own power. After coaling on 31 January, the freighter sailed for Baltimore, Maryland, on 3 February.

    Transfer to the Shipping Board

    Having been transferred from the NOTS Army Account to the Shipping Board Account on 1 February 1919, Bali reached Baltimore on 4 February and loaded 7,458 tons of Food Administration flour, peas, and beans earmarked for European relief. Then, having had "otter gear" installed for minesweeping at that port, she departed Baltimore for Denmark on 14 February. Reaching Copenhagen on 7 March, Bali unloaded her cargo and sailed for the British Isles on 20 March. Proceeding via the Kiel Canal and Heligoland, she reached Yarmouth on 23 March to await a pilot; proceeding thence to Harwich and Plymouth, she reached the latter port on 25 March. She remained there until 29 March, when she sailed, in ballast, for the United States.

    Bali made port at New York City on 10 April, mooring at Jersey City, New Jersey that same afternoon. Moving thence to the Morgan Pier on 17 April and Shewan's Drydock on 19 April, she underwent repairs on 19 and 20 April.

    Final war support voyage

    After that, Bali moved to the West Shore Railroad dock on 22 April and loaded a cargo of lard and flour. She sailed for Europe on 29 April. Touching briefly at Falmouth, England, on 11 May for sailing orders and onward routing, she pushed on the next day, reaching Hamburg, Germany, on the morning of 16 May.


    Arriving at Amsterdam on the morning of 24 May, Bali entered the Amsterdamsche Drydock Company drydock on 27 May. She was decommissioned at Amsterdam on 30 May 1919 and was returned to her owners. Her name was struck from the Navy list simultaneously.

    Subsequent destruction in World War II

    Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland operated Bali until sometime in 1932 when she was acquired by Georges Portolo. Her port of registry then became Ithaca, Greece and she was renamed Max Wolf. The freighter operated under Greek colors until bombed by German planes off the coast of France between Roque and Berville, and two of her crew killed, on 9 June 1940. Run aground to prevent her sinking, the wreck was used as a bombing target by the Luftwaffe during the German occupation of France. The wreck was subsequently broken up for scrap about 1951.

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