Hecate (Second World War, BC Coast and Viet Nam Veteran)

by Frank Nyross 2016


Hecate (Photo from the Frank Nyross collection. )

In 1943 the Hecate was built during the Second World War by the Jacksonville Shipyard in Florida for the United States Navy as USS Y.M.S. 449. YMS–1 Class Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper: laid down, 14 June 1943 as PCS–1435 by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co., Jacksonville, FL; reclassified as an Auxiliary Motor Minesweeper YMS–467, 27 September 1943; launched, 22 February 1944; completed, 4 August 1944; commissioned, (date unknown); decommissioned, (date unknown); Struck from the Naval Register, 7 February 1947; She was sold on 7 November 1947. She was employed as a minesweeper and salvage tug before being decommissioned in 1947. She was sold in 1950 to G.H. Burt and R.N. Cosulich, Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1951–1958 she was owned by British Columbia Packers Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1960–1961 she was owned by Northwest Shipping Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC. In 1962–1981 she was owned by Northwest Shipping (1962) Co. Ltd., Vancouver BC.

She was 130.6’ x 25’ x 11’ when built with a wooden hull, 265gt 140nt. She was originally powered by 2–500bhp diesel Gibbs Gas Engine Co. engines. In 1951 she was renamed as Cosbur II and then as Cosbur. She was named for Robert Cosulich and Robert Burt (partners in the tug). In 1953 she was renamed as Cloverleaf. In 1952 she was re-powered by 2-750bhp Union diesels. n 1951 she was rebuilt as the packer Cosbur II at Burrard Dry Dock. In 1954 two new 800bhp eight cylinder Enterprise engines capable of 12 knots were installed after her sale into private ownership.


Hecate in 1971 with the barge Vung Tau. (Photo from the Frank Nyross collection. )

In 1972 she was owned by a private underwater salvage company in Saigon, South Viet Nam under contract to the US Navy. In September 1975 to April 1975. She was intermittently under charter to the US Navy Military Sealift Command and the US Aid for International Development agency. Between these charters the vessel was also performing towing charters between Viet Nam and Singapore and Malaysia for private firms. In February to July 1975 she was under charter to Seapac.


Hecate 1975 out of drydock. The forward cargo mast was not yet installed. (Photo from the Frank Nyross collection. )

Hecate in dry dock at Binh Triu Vietname 1974.


Hecate 1975 out of drydock. The forward cargo mast was not yet installed. (Photo from the Frank Nyross collection. )

In 1972 she was operated by Liffey Marine Singapore under the name Hecate working for a Company in Saigon making tows up the Mekong River to resupply Phnom Penh and to Kampong Som Cambodia and Singapore. I gained possession of the boat in September 1973 and did an overhaul at a river side dry dock in January 1975 at Binh Triu Saigon Vietnam. Toward the end of February with the boat just out of the dry dock and still somewhat in pieces I got a 4 month contract with the US Government through an intermediary. The boat was to make supply runs to Phnom Penh but the City was being over run so the boat instead stayed at Vung Tau or Saigon waiting for the inevitable over run of Saigon by the North Vietnamese. Near the end of April 1975 she sailed to Singapore and anchored at Kallang Basinstill on hire until the end of June. In September 1975 I sold the boat to a group that had formed a company called "Project Sea Save" that was going to use her to pick up the Vietnamese "Boat People" fleeing the Communists.


Hecate renamed as Roland berthed at Tanjung Rhu Singapore. She is sinking 1978. (Photo from the Frank Nyross collection. )

Homer Jack, the Secretary General of the World Council on Religion and Peace, organized an effort to pick up sea–borne refugees (aka boat people) off the coast of Viet Nam. He worked with the Roland and freighter called the Vera. By February 1977 they had picked up 477 survivors and were negotiating to enter the territorial waters of neighbouring countries to offload their human cargoes.

After I sold it in 1977 the boat was renamed as the Roland and did the Project Sea Save thing. She returned to Tanjung Riu Singapore sometime in 1978. While tied up she was allegedly rammed by a barge during the night and started sinking. I don’t know what happened to her after that.

To quote from this article please cite:

Nyross, Frank (2016) Hecate (Second World War, BC Coast and Viet Nam Veteran) Nauticapedia.ca 2016. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Hecate.php

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