USS Benevolence (AH-13)

Hospital ship sunk off San Francisco in a collision on August 25, 1950.
by Matthew Anderson


Year Built

1944

Year Sank

1950

Depth

75 ft (22.9 m)

Difficulty Level

Intermediate


USS Benevolence (AH-13)

Wreck Location

The USS Benevolence lies at the foot of the Golden Gate off the coast of San Francisco, California in a busy shipping lane. The condition of the Benevolence is unknown, other than her hull has been detroyed and blown to pieces by the Navy. The wreck is shallow water with little to no obstructions nearby, but due to its depth is probably best saved for Intermediate diving.

~ GPS Shipwreck Location ~
Latitude:   37° 46' 52.5468" N      Longitude:   -122° 33' 2.1096" W

Description

SS Marine Lion was ordered by the United States Maritime Commission in 1942 as a Type C4-S-B2 cargo ship. The Type C4 class was the largest type of cargo ship Marcom ordered during the war. She was built and launched on July 10, 1944 by the Sun Shipyard and Drydock Company in Chester, Pennsylvania. 21 days later she was transferred to the United States Navy. She sailed to the Todd-Erie Basin Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York and converted into a hospital ship. On May 12, 1945, she was comissioned as USS Benevolence (AH-13).



She left for Japan on July 27, 1945 to assist the US 3rd Fleet off Japan. She left for Yokosuka, Japan on August 20, 1945 and anchored there on August 29, tending to recently liberated Allied prisoners of war. On November 27, 1945, she left Yokosuka returning to the United States at San Francisco, California on December 12. She traveled between San Francisco and Pearl Harbor often until February 15, 1946. She underwent an overhaul which lasted until April 1, 1946. On April 27, she left San Francisco, arriving at Bikini Atoll on May 22 and stood by during the Able and Baker nuclear tests. She returned to San Francisco on September 8. On September 27, she left San Francisco again for Tsingtao, China. She stayed there between October 14 and March 3, 1947. She arrived back in San Francisco and was mothballed on September 13, 1947.

In August 25, 1950, USS Benevolence was back into commission as USS Benevolence (T-AH-13) and undergoing sea trials outside San Francisco with 527 crew aboard. Later that day, as she approached the Golden Gate having completed her sea trials, Benevolence was shrouded in dense fog. The freighter Mary Luckenback suddenly came steaming out of the fog and rammed the Benevolence. The collision was exceptionally hard and caused some people on the Benevolence to loose their footing and fly across the deck. Benevolence started rolling to port with the list becoming a capsize. She rolled over completely onto her side and sank in 75 feet of water. Mary Luckenback picked up 85 survivors. 504 people in total were rescued. 23 people lost their lives the day Benevolence sank. The wreck remained visible with the Red Cross markings showing through the water until November and December 1951, when the US Navy detonated and destroyed the wreck to eliminate a navigational hazzard in a busy shipping lane.

Footnotes

The loss of the Benevolence is a mostly unknown shipwreck incident. After the sinking, one of her survivors reported seeing four bloated corpses foaming from the mouths, apprently from ingesting too much salt water into their stomachs.




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2 Comments & Ratings

anonymous by Stephen L Poteet on 2/7/2019

My dad was on the Benevolence when it went down 25 August 1950 He did survive.

anonymous by DANNY ATWELL on 6/5/2019

My Dad served on the Benevolence until the end of the war.

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