New Castle, DE (off shore) Tanker MISSION SAN FRANCISCO Collision, Mar 1957

SS Mission San Francisco collision.JPG New Castle DEL Mission San Francisco 3-7-1957.jpg


New Castle, Del. (UP) -- Navy and Coast Guard investigators delved today into causes of a collision that send a Navy-owned gasoline tanker to explosive death on the Delaware River, carrying down 10 men with her.
The 10 men aboard the MISSION SAN FRANCISCO when she was rammed by the Liberian freighter Elna II were missing and presumed dead. Among them were the Mission's captain, WILLIAM ALLEN, 54, of Galveston, Tex., and a pilot, Capt. RALPH SMITH of New York.
Thirty-five other men on the tanker and the 23-member crew of the freighter were saved.
A team of investigators and a salvage supervisor were sent by the Navy to the scene and the Coast Guard questioned some of the survivors in Philadelphia. The Coast Guard said a three-man Marine board will investigate the collision at a hearing in Philadelphia Monday. Testimony will be taken and recommendations sent to Washington.
The collision occurred early Thursday on a bend of the Delaware River near here, known as the
"graveyard of ships." The outbound Elna sliced the 5,739 ton Mission in two about midships, touching off an explosion that wrapped the empty vessels in flame and rocked a wide area.
The 4,500 ton Elna, enroute to Baltimore after discharging a cargo of wood at Wilmington, Del., ran aground. The tanker, on its way to Paulsboro to take on cargo, sank five hours later.
ALEXANDER KARRE, master of the Elna, said he was on the bridge when the ships collided with visibility close to six miles despite a fall of rain mixed with sleet and light snow.
KARRE, 62, of Toronto, Ont., said the freighter failed to acknowledge a signal and cut across his bow. He said he could not turn to avoid the collision because of a jetty running north of Pea Patch Island.

Dunkirk Evening Observer New York 1957-03-08