S.S. Phoenix

S.S. Phoenix
S.S. Phoenix, fifth ship built by the National Bulk Carriers shipyard in Kure, Japan.

S.S. Phoenix

Phoenix was the fifth ship built by National Bulk Carriers Inc., Kure Shipyards Division. She upped the ante of the Petrokure class of tankers from 38,000 DWT to 45,000 DWT, again competing with Onassis and his ships. Onassis quickly upped the tonnage ante again, but Ludwig and his National Bulk Carriers shipyards consistently launched bigger ships first, completing the first 30,000 DWT tankers, then the 38,000 tonners, and then Phoenix. She was followed by a rather unique 56,000 DWT self-unloading oil/ore carrier (S.S. Sinclair Petrolore), some 60,000 DWT ore ships, and a class of 85,000 DWT tankers, again the first of that size launched, and also by the first 100,000 DWT tanker, S.S. Universe Apollo in 1958.

Phoenix was a one of a kind ship, no other ships like her were built. She had the by then classic Ludwig lines: a skinny smokestack, low after deckhouse, and a rather austere bridge structure. Ludwig had a terrible aversion to placing anything on his ships which could not carry oil. He once pointed out that "you can't carry oil in the stack", and was reputed to have instructed his chief ship designer at one time to devise a way to carry oil in the masts. Upon being told that it would be prohibitively expensive and complicated to do so, he directed that no masts be installed on his ships, and that the required navigational lighting be supported by minimal structures of pipe, just strong enough to hold them. A review of photographs of the Ludwig ships built to this point reveals that this apocryphal story is most likely true. Note that Phoenix also had an engine built in 1937, reconditioned and installed during construction, further illustrating Ludwig's extreme frugality.

Ship Hull# Built GRT DWT Length Beam Comments
Phoenix 33 1953 26,085 44,633 722' 97'4" Another first in increasing tanker size. She was the largest afloat when built, but only for a short time. Engine made 1937 by Norfolk Navy Yard, fitted 1953. Scrapped Santander, Spain April, 1978.

S.S. Phoenix
Another view of S.S. Phoenix. ( Photo by V. H. Young and L. A. Sawyer)

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Created by A. Davis Whittaker, Jr.
Last updated on 21 February 2005.