Named after a US university, the St. Lawrence was launched on March 31, 1945, after just only 65 days in the yard. Her first mission was a dangerous one, carrying over 10,000 tons of explosives to Saipan. Her crew maintained radio silence for the duration of the voyage, kept camouflage at night, and sailed in a zigzag pattern to confuse Japanese submarines. She was back in Seattle by July, from where she joined Task Group 30.8 in delivering supplies to the soldiers stationed on Guam. After the war she took on a relief role, hauling cargo over the Atlantic to assist European nations under the Marshall plan. This ended in 1947 when she hit a mine of the coast of Dubrovnik. The salvage was claimed by Yugoslavia, and after receiving necessary repairs, the St. Lawrence continue to function as a passenger ship with private operators in this country for some decades after.
Maybe this wasn’t the wisest way to repurpose the vessel, as the asbestos used in all sections of the ship for fire and water insulation could have been inhaled by the passengers with ill results.
USS Charles Lawrence (DE-53/APD-37) - Facts and Asbestos Exposuremore »