Capacity of One Liberty Ship
Liberty ships, officially EC2, which stood for Emergency Cargo Size 2, were nicknamed "ugly ducklings" by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They were also called "workhorses of the deep." A Liberty ship was designed to carry about 10,000 tons of cargo, but in wartime conditions often carried much more.
In 1941 seven Liberty ships were delivered, averaging 212 days for completion. As a publicity stunt, the Kaiser Richmond shipyard completed the SS Robert E. Peary in 14 days. By January 1943, the average completion time was 50 days.
A Liberty's cost was calculated as $2,000,000, and any group that raised such amount could suggest a name for a Liberty ship. The actual cost at the various shipyards ranged from $1,543,000 to $2,099,000 per ship. A Liberty ship "paid for itself" if she completed one half of its maiden voyage -- in other words -- a one way trip was considered "successful," to all except her crew.
Ships were loaded to their Plimsoll lines, indicating safe levels, and then deck cargo was added!
Capacity of One Liberty Ship Brochure
Prepared by Control and Reports Division, Boston Port of Embarkation, Army Base 1943
Scan of brochure courtesy of Art Wadsworth, Oiler on SS John W. Brown, Baltimore, MD
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