She was originally built in Chester, Pennsylvania by the Sun Shipbuilding Company during the height of World War II. She was built as hull number 263 and was the 37th T2-SE-A1 type tanker built at that yard out of 202 that were built between 1939 and 1945. At that time she and her many sistership shared dimensions of 503' x 68' x 39'3". Gross tonnage - 10,400, Net tonnage - 6,260, Deadweight tonnage - 16,750. Perryville entered service early in 1944.
It would seem that she served through the latter half of World War II without incident and following the end of the war she was sent into layup along with thousands of other oil and general cargo ships around the U.S. coasts. At some point thereafter she was sold into the private merchant marine and ended up sailing for Paco Tankers Inc., of Wilmington, Delaware as Perryville by the end of the 1950s.
By the early 1960s many T2 tankers were nearing the end of their respective careers. A select few though were fortunate to be the recipients mid-life refits, service extensions and some of entirely new hulls. Such was the case for Perryville and early in 1961 she was taken to the Todd Shipyard Corporation drydock in Alameda, California where her original stern and midship section was joined to a new oil tanker forebody. The new hull had been built at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries drydock in Yokohama, Japan during 1960 and towed across the Pacific to California late that year.
When Perryville emerged from the drydock and re-entered service her dimensions had stretched to 585' x 80'3" x 33'5" and her tonnages had increased to 25,083-dwt, 14,445-grt and 10,666-nrt. She retained her original General Electric steam turbine engine which was capable of producing up to 7,300 horsepower. It turned a single fixed pitch propeller and moved the ship along at speeds in excess of 14 knots.
Following her return to service her owners were listed as the Keystone Shipping Company of Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. and this remained unchanged through the late 1970s. Around October 24th, 1979 it was reported that Perryville ran aground off Honduras in a position 15.50 N, 82.21 W. She was subsequently re-floated on October 30th of that year.
She kept busy through the 1970s and early 1980s hauling crude oil and petroeum based products between various U.S. ports on the Atlantic & Pacific Ocean as well as along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The end was drawing near though by the end of 1981 and early the following year Keystone Shipping decided that the costs of repairing the ship exceeded its total value. As a result she was sold for dismantling. On August 8th, 1982 she arrived at Chittagong Roads, Bangladesh and subsequntly ran herself aground on the scrapping beach. There over the weeks that followed Perryville was reduced to memories..
Information courtesy Marine News - The World Ship Society
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