New Zealand Bear - U.S.A.


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The converted container ship New Zealand Bear is seen in this photograph while underway on June 7th, 1975 - Location unknown. Photographer unknown. Courtesy Willem VanMaanen's collection

This vessel's career began in December of 1943 after she had been built as hull number 5 by the Kaiser Company's Richmond Shipyard #3 in Richmond California as General R.L. Howse. She was one of at least 35 C4-S-A1 class troop ships that were built by the Richmond yard for war service. She measured 496'7" x 71'6" x 43'6" and was listed at 11,300 Gross tons. Her 2 cylinder steam turbine engine produced up to 9,900 horsepower.

Her war service concluded in late 1945 however she was kept in active status through the 1940s and early 1950s through the Korean conflict. By 1957 though her surveys were due and she entered long term layup. Through the 1960s many of her sisters and former wartime fleetmates were sold off for scrapping or conversion to merchant ships. Her turn came in 1967 when she was sold for conversion to a container ship. Containerized freight was gaining popularity at that time and her conversion was sure to give her a lengthy career extension.

In 1969 she re-entered active service as (b) Guam Bear under the U.S. flag. In 1975 she was sold to the Pacific Far East Line, U.S.A. and renamed (c) New Zealand Bear. Service for these owners kept her very busy on the Pacific Ocean routes. The photograph presented above must have been very near the end of her time with PFE because it was noted that in muid-1975 she was sold to Farrell Lines Incorporated, also based in the United States and renamed (d) Austral Glen. Late in 1979 she was sold again by Farrell Lines to Austral Glade Owners Ltd. also based in the U.S.A. and renamed (e) Pacific Endeavor.

Service for these owners was to be short lived though. Her 37 year career came to an end when she was sold to Mohamed Iqbil Goawala & Company and delivered to their scrapyard in Karachi, Pakistan on October 27th, 1980. There workers reduced the well travelled ship to scrap.

Thanks to the American Bureau of Shipping and the World Ship Society's publication Marine News


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Posted: May 26, 2001       Last Revised: May 26, 2001
Photo courtesy : Willem VanMaanen's collection - Copyright © - 1975, 2001

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