SS Hellas Liberty in Piraeus Port, Greece after major restoration (2010)
|Name:||Arthur M. Huddell|
|Namesake:||Arthur M Huddell|
|Owner:||War Shipping Administration (WSA)|
|Operator:||A.H. Bull & Co., Inc.|
|Ordered:||as type (EC2-S-C1) hull, MC hull 1215|
|Builder:||St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida|
|Laid down:||25 October 1943|
|Launched:||7 December 1943|
|Sponsored by:||Mrs. Arthur M. Huddell|
|Completed:||18 December 1943|
|Status:||Donated to Greece, 2008|
|Identification:||IMO number: 5025706|
|Status:||Converted to a museum ship|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||
|Beam:||57 feet (17 m)|
|Draft:||27 ft 9.25 in (8.4646 m)|
|Speed:||11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph)|
SS Arthur M. Huddel is a Liberty ship built in the United States during World War II. She was named after Arthur M. Huddel, an American union leader. Huddel had been president of the Boston Central Labor Union, vice president of the International Engineers’ Union, and president of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE).
The Historic American Engineering Record for the ship notes significance as an existing Liberty ship example and role in Operation PLUTO (pipeline-under-the-sea) and later work as a cable transport for American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) communications cable installations and then for installation of the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) until 1983. In 2009 Arthur M. Huddel was donated to Greece to serves as the museum ship Hellas Liberty. The fully restored ship is on display in the Port of Piraeus, Athens.
Arthur M. Huddel was laid down on 25 October 1943, under a Maritime Commission (MARCOM) contract, MC hull 1215, by the St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company, Jacksonville, Florida; she was sponsored by Mrs. Arthur M. Huddell, the widow of the namesake, and was launched on 7 December 1943.
She was allocated to A.H. Bull & Co., Inc., on 18 December 1943.
After Arthur M. Huddell loaded explosives and general cargo in Jacksonville, she sailed for New York, in February 1944, where she joined a convoy for London. Returning to Norfolk, Virginia, in March 1944. Carrying explosives again, this time from Charleston, South Carolina, for Oran, Algeria, she set sail at the end of April 1944.
During the summer of 1944 the ship was modified with number 4 and 5 holds converted to carry coiled pipe for the construction of a fuel pipeline under the English Channel as part of Operation PLUTO supporting the Normandy landings. She departed New York, 22 September 1944, carrying 70 mi (110 km) of pipe and general cargo. She then spent 84 days in London, unloading 17 mi (27 km) of pipe into a cable laying ship, and unloading the remainder at the dock. This turned out to be Arthur M. Huddell's first and only fuel pipe transport mission. For the remainder of the war and immediate post war period she carried coal, general cargo, and personnel. She returned to Baltimore, Maryland, in July 1945. She was then laid up in the James River Reserve Fleet, Lee Hall, Virginia, 25 September 1945, with $20,000 worth of costly repairs needed.
She was chartered by AT&T, 23 February 1956, and was converted to a cable transport and layer. After operations in support of Distant Early Warning (DEW) line she was transferred to the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, Suisun Bay, California, 11 October 1957. With a brief service in 1963, she was again returned to Suisun Bay, 10 July 1964. On 13 December 1977, the US Navy took delivery of Arthur M. Huddell, reclassified as a barge after conversion July 1978, to support cable operations for the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). She was again laid up at James River Fleet, 22 August 1983.
After that date, many components, including the rudder, were removed and used as spare parts for SS John W. Brown. Arthur M. Huddell is one of three Liberty ships remaining afloat, with the others being John W. Brown and Jeremiah O'Brien.
On 6 December 2008 she left Norfolk, under tow for Piraeus harbor for cleanup and preparation so that the United States Congress would approve of the transfer. The project, still without formal Greek government support, was largely financed by Greek shipowners. In January 2009 Arthur M. Huddel was officially transferred to Greece after several years mitigating hazardous materials and negotiations and was renamed Hellas Liberty. General repairs and conversions took place at Perama and Salamis, during 2009 and 2010, including installation of a new rudder and propeller. The rudder was fabricated new in Greece, but the propeller was donated by the United States government to the Greek government. The propeller was a spare Victory ship propeller, which is the same diameter of 18 ft (5.5 m), as on a Liberty ship. The difference is that the Liberty has an output of 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) while the Victory is 7,500 hp (5,600 kW). They had a different pitch, but as it isn't turning, it doesn't make a difference. In June 2010, she was presented to the public in her restored form in Piraeus harbor in Athens.