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Civilian Identification Numbered Ships Photo Archive

Biesbosch (ID 2499)

Freighter/Salvage Ship:

  • Built in 1916 by J. P. Wilmink and Co., Groninjen, Holland
  • Acquired by the Navy 12 August 1918
  • Commissioned Biesbosch (ID 2499), 18 November 1918
  • By that time the First World War had been over for a week, but the ship continued preparation for active service and, in December 1918, steamed south to her new base at Key West, Florida
  • Biesbosch began her salvage work late in that month, beginning the two week job of refloating the freighter Bedminster, which was aground on the Georgia coast
  • In February 1919 she assisted the Navy tanker W.L. Steed (ID 3449), stranded in the Bahamas; the SS Novian, aground near the mouth of the Mississippi River; and the SS Paloma, which had run aground
    in Cuban waters
  • Her last major task was in late March and early April, refloating the French steamer Boieldieu
  • Decommissioned and struck from the Navy Register 13 May 1919 at Staten Island, NY and returned to the United States Shipping Board
  • Following return to her owners she resumed her commercial career, which lasted, under both the Dutch and Belgian flags, until about 1923-1924
  • Fate unknown.


  • Displacement 1,100 t.
  • Length 160'
  • Beam 25' 4½"
  • Draft 12' 6"
  • Speed 8 kts.
  • Complement 45
  • Armament: One 3"/50 mount
  • Propulsion: One single ended boiler, one 300hp triple expansion steam engine, one shaft.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    Biesbosch 101k In port, possibly when inspected by the Third Naval District on 1 April 1918
    U.S. Navy photo NH 99362
    Naval Historical Center

    Commanding Officers
    01LT H. R. Foster, USNRF1919
    02LTJG Elvin M. Harker, USNRF1919
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships History: Biesbosch (No. 2499), a salvage steamer, was built in 1916 by J. P. Wilmink and Co., Groninjen, Holland; bare-boat chartered to the Navy by the Shipping Board 12 August 1918; and commissioned 18 November 1918, Lieutenant (Junior grade) E. M. Harker, USNR, in command.

    Biesbosch was assigned to the Southern Salvage Division, 7th Naval District, Key West, Fla., and arrived 21 December 1918. At various times she assisted vessels aground off the coasts of Florida and Georgia. On 27 April 1919 she arrived back in New York where she was decommissioned and returned to the Shipping Board 13 May 1919.

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