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Identification Numbered Vessel Photo Archive

Topila (ID 3001)

Civilian call sign (1919):
Love - Dog - Cast - Mike

Topila Class Tanker:

  • Built in 1913 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA for the East Coast Oil Co. (Southern Pacific Co.)
  • Launched 12 June 1913
  • Delivered 22 July 1913
  • Acquired by the Navy in 1917
  • Commissioned USS Topila (ID 3001), 8 September 1917
  • Decommissioned 24 June 1918 and returned to United States Shipping Board for return to her owner, the Southern Pacific Co.
  • Renamed Jorge S. in 1947
  • Scrapped in 1950 at Baltimore, MD.


  • Displacement 11,484 t.
  • Length 394'
  • Beam 59'
  • Draft 23' 2"
  • Speed 11 kts.
  • Complement 39
  • Armament: Two 5" mounts
  • Propulsion: One 2,350hp triple-expansion steam engine, one shaft.
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    Size Image Description Source
    Topila 353k 6 August 1939
    While sailing for the Richfield Oil Corp.
    Photo by Walter E. Frost
    City of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Archives
    Photo added 3 May 2020

    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships: Topila-a steel-hulled, oil tanker launched on 12 June 1913 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. and delivered to the East Coast Oil Co. on 22 July 1913-was acquired by the Navy at Philadelphia late in the summer of 1917 and was commissioned on 8 September 1918.

    Assigned to the Train, Atlantic Fleet, the tanker carried fuel oil from petroleum centers on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to ports along the Atlantic seaboard and in Europe. When the Naval Overseas Transportation Service (NOTS) was established on 9 January 1918, Topila was one of the original ships assigned to that organization. At that time, she had been at sea for five days laden with oil destined for England. Upon her arrival at Devonport on 19 January, she discharged her cargo, got underway for home four days later, and reached New York on 13 February.

    The ship subsequently made two more round-trip voyages to European waters under NOTS orders: one to Portsmouth, England, and the other to Verdon, France. She returned to New York from the latter on the final day of March and resumed voyages carrying fuel from Port Arthur, Texas, to ports on the east coast. Decommissioned on 24 June 1918, she was simultaneously transferred, via the United States Shipping Board, to the Southern Pacific Co.

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