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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Sea Otter II (IX-53)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - India - Golf - Sierra
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Defense Service Medal - American Campaign Medal - World War II Victory Medal

  • Sea Otter II Class Experimental Cargo Ship:
  • Laid down, date unknown, at Levingston Shipbuilding Co., Orange, TX.
  • Launched, 23 August 1941
  • Acquired by the US Navy, 26 September 1941,
  • Placed in Service, 26 October 1941
  • Placed out of service, 28 May 1942, at Charleston, S.C.
  • Transferred, 26 June 1942, to the War Shipping Administration, subsequently transferred to Cargoes Inc.
  • Sold, 2 December 1942, to Pan American SS. Corp., of Panama, for $15,000.00, "where is as is"
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 8 May 1946
  • Sold to Panama Steamship Corp of Panama for $15,000 (as is where is)
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 1,278 t.(lt) 1,941 t.(fl)
    Length 254'
    Beam 38'
    Draft 10' 2"
    Speed unknown
    Armament none
    Complement 15
    sixteen GM 6-71 gasoline engines geared to two quad reduction gear boxes
    two ship's service generators driven by two GM 6-71 gasoline engines
    twin propellers

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    IX-53 132k Sea Otter (IX-53) under construction, 20 August 1941. Note the austere building ways, the absence of a raked addition to the bow, and the presence of a second level on the superstructure. Workers appear to be painting the hull including the entire bow.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo # NR&L(M) 25871. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    IX-53 155k Sea Otter II (IX-53) under construction in a photo bearing the date 18 August 1941. The relationship between this photo and the other construction photo is not clear. The basic hull is the same, but it is on a different building ways, has the raked addition to the bow, and lacks the second superstructure level in the photo dated 20 August. The bow lacks paint while the rest of the hull is painted. The shed under the building ways has a sign showing the builder's number for Sea Otter II, Hull 215.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, Photo No. NR&L(M) 25870. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    IX-53 99k Sea Otter (IX-53) stern view during trials, probably at Orange, Texas, in October 1941. The rudder had no protection except for a heavy pipe guard at deck level. Steering cables ran on deck and then above the pipe guard to a crosshead at the top of the rudder. The name in small letters on the stern and on the life rings was rendered "Sea Otter No. 2."
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, photo # NR&L(M) 25865. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    IX-53 147k Sea Otter (IX-53) alongside a pier during trials, probably at Orange, Texas, in October 1941.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, photo # NR&L(M) 25868. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    IX-53 135k View of the bridge structure of Sea Otter (IX-53) during trials, probably at Orange, TX., in October 1941.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, photo # NR&L(M) 25869. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    IX-53 110k Sea Otter (IX-53) running trials, probably at Orange, Texas, in October 1941. The ship ran more trials in Charleston, S.C., in November and this series of photos might have been taken there.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command, photo # NR&L(M) 25867. Courtesy
    Mike Green
    IX-53 465k Sea Otter (IX-53) backing out into the Sabine River with two tugs assisting. She is probably still in Levingston’s hands as men on deck are in civilian working clothes. As reported by an ex-employee of Levingston's in 1941. when they fired up all sixteen GM 6-71 main propulsion engines geared to two quad reduction gear boxes (the same used in all LCI’s) the roar could be heard for miles and it was almost impossible to carry a normal conversation on deck. The GM 6-71s also drove the two generators, a total of 18 engines. James Swank
    58k Model of USS Sea Otter (IX-53) probably representing an early concept of this vessel. The bow and stern configurations resemble the ship as built, but the superstructure is completely different. Note the steering chains on deck and the single lifeline running down the centerline. The small hatch openings are barely visible.
    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # NR&L(M) 25861
    Robert Hurst

    Sea Otter II (IX-53)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)

    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Web Sites of Interest
    MARAD Vessel History Data Base
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 17 June 2022