At times throughout the whole of the Maritime Commission's
emergency shipbuilding program, certain waves of expansion were put into effect, as dictated by military and shipping needs.
For some time the port of Mobile was not shown on the expansion lists, as it was considered that formation of new yards in the area would draw labor from nearby yards at Chickasaw and Pascagoula, which were already building C-type ships. Nevertheless, in time it became necessary to develop more yards in the South and the management of a new emergency yard at Mobile was supplied by the Alabama Drydock & Shipbuilding
Company. This company, already established, was then engaged in
building tankers and also had much repair work in hand.
The new yard was located on Pinto Island, this allowing easy layout and giving ample water frontage. The four slipways were well-spaced and the assembly platforms, instead of being in the customary position at the head of each slip, were placed between the ways. This shortened the distance over which the pre-assembled units were transported by crane. Owing to the heavy losses of tankers by enemy action, eight more ways, for tanker construction, were later added to the layout. So this yard,
originally planned for Liberty ship production, was developed for the multiple production of tankers.
By March 1943 the total labor force of 18,500 persons included some 6,000 African-Americans. The up-grading of some of the latter started a race riot, so causing temporary closure of part of the yard. But the problems were resolved and the black craftsmen were confined to the production on four of the ways.
However, in August 1943 the company acknowledged that the magnitude of shipbuilding operations was 'beyond the capacity of their management' and they offered its facilities solely for repair work. The maritime commission gave the task of new management to two engineerIng firms and the company formed a separate shipbuilding division. Thus there was no change in ownership but a complete change in management, and repair work
was entirely separated from shipbuilding.
Liberty ship output: 20 vessels.
|USMC Numbers||Yard Numbers|
|1-13 ||231-243 |
|740-746 ||281-287 |
|747-767 ||cancelled to permit tanker construction |
World War II Construction Records of the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company
See copies of Fore 'n' Aft, published by the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company