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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

SS Cape Alava (AK-5012)

Cape A Class Breakbulk Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down in 1962 as SS African Comet a Maritime Administration type (C4-S-58a) hull under Maritime Administration contract (MA 103) at Ingalls Shipbuilding Co., Pascagoula, MS.
  • Launched in 1962
  • Delivered to Farrell Lines, 22 August 1962
  • Title transfer, 17 December 1979, to the Maritime Administration Trade-in and Build Program
  • Bare-bottom charter by Farrell Lines, 17 December 1979
  • Returned to the MARAD, 11 April 1980, for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River Group, Lee Hall, VA.
  • Named changed to SS Comet, 4 August 1980
  • Renamed, SS Cape Alava, 30 December 1980, assigned to the MARAD Ready Reserve Force, designated (AK-5012)
  • When activated SS Cape Alava (AK-5012) was assigned to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as one of the Military Sealift Command's Modular Cargo Delivery System Ready Reserve Force )RRF) Ships
  • SS Cape Alava (AK-5012) could be activated in 30 days
  • Downgraded from RRF, 1 October 2001, and laid up in the Maritime Administrations (MARAD) National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, Fort Eustis, VA.
  • Final Disposition, sold for scrapping, to be dismantled at Brownsville, TX.
    Displacement 7,380 t.(lt), 21,110 t.(fl)
    Length 575'
    Beam 75'
    Draft 30' (max.)
    Speed 18.3 kts.
    Full Operating Status Complement (unknown) Civilian Mariners
    Propulsion steam turbine, two boilers, single propeller, 16,500shp

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    Size Image Description Source
    Merchant Service Farrell Lines
    Cape Alava
    212k SS African Comet underway, circa 1962-79, locations unknown. Gerhard Mueller-Debus
    Cape Alava
    MARAD Ready Reserve Fleet
    Cape Alava 83k SS Cape Alava (AK-5012) underway, date and location unknown.
    US Maritime Administration photo.
    Maritime Administration RRF web site
    MARAD James River Group Reserve Fleet
    Cape Archway 94k From left to right; SS Cape Archway, SS Cape Avinoff and SS Cape Alava laid up in the Maritime Administration's James River Reserve Fleet, 8 April 2009. Photo by Mike Hibbard
    Cape Alva
    95k SS Cape Alava laid up in the Maritime Administration's James River Reserve Fleet, 8 April 2009.
    0913501202 - Starboard stern quarter view
    0913501203 - Starboard quarter view
    0913501204 - Midships detail
    0913501205 - Tricolor MARAD RRF stack markings
    0913501206 - Forward starboard quarter
    Photos by Mike Hibbard
    Cape Alava
    Cape Alava
    Cape Alava
    Cape Alava
    Cape Archway
    240k Ex-SS Cape Alava (AK-5012) under tow, 19 November 2020, passing NavSta Norfolk. ex-Cape Alava left the James River Reserve Fleet under tow enroute to Steelcoast Recycling, Brownsville, TX. for recycling, arrived at Brownsville 5 December. Caption by Greg Stitz and Brandon J. Varner
    Photo by Brandon J. Varner

    There is no DANFS history available for SS Cape Alava (AK-5012) at NavSource
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Database
    National Register Eligibility Assessment
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 11 December 2020