Thursday, May 5, 2016

Liberty Ships in North Carolina-- Part 1: A Fast Ship to Build

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina "Liberty Ships" by Jim Fowlkes.

A number of them were built in Wilmington and they carried two-thirds of U.S. cargo during World War II, thus playing a significant role in the Allied cause as merchant vessels.

According to standards developed by the U.S. Maritime Commission in 1940, Liberty Ships were 440 feet long, 66 feet wide, and, with 2,500 horsepower, capable of cruising at 11 knots.  Some were also armed.

These ships were the first vessels to be mass-produced using welding instead instead of riveting; welding was faster, cheaper and lighter, and it took less time to train welders than riveters.  Consequently, the ships became known for their rapid production.  Nationally, over 2,700 Liberty Ships were built and about 200 sunk by the enemy.

--GreGen

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