Repatriation of Merchant Seamen: Press Release

    PR 2015(W)


Advance Release
Wednesday, September 13, 1944
  Cleared and Issued
Through Facilities of the
Office of War Information


More than 15,000 American merchant seamen and officers have been repatriated from overseas to United States ports, since the beginning of the war, by the War Shipping Administration, WSA reported today in a statement issued in connection with the approaching celebration of Victory Fleet Day, September 27.

Of that number, approximately 4,700 seamen and officers were repatriated during the first six months of 1944, officials said.

WSA said repatriation means the returning from foreign soil or waters, for any reason whatsoever, of any merchant seaman who is not performing the duties to which he had been assigned.

Contrasted with the early months of the war when the majority of the repatriated men were "wet survivors" -- men who had been torpedoed -- the majority of the repatriates now are men who have been injured, become sick, or who participated in special missions with the armed forces and are returning to join other ships.

Of those repatriated, the majority, or about 65 per cent, were landed in East Coast ports; about 14 per cent in Gulf Coast ports and about 21 per cent in West Coast ports.

The Recruitment and Manning Organization of War Shipping Administration is responsible for the program.

During D-Day operation a large number of American merchant seamen and. officers were on ships that had to be abandoned. Most of these men, about 1,000, had to be repatriated in order that they might join other ships needing experienced manpower to operate them.

War Shipping Administration officials said that of all the seamen and officers repatriated so far during the war the majority returned to sea again.

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