The Bulkpetrol Class Ships

S.S. Bulkpetrol

S.S. Bulkpetrol, first of a new larger class of tankers built by Welding Shipyards, Inc. for National Bulk Carriers.

The Bulkpetrol Class Ships

Built by Welding Shipyards, Inc, Norfolk, VA for National Bulk Carriers.  These ships were the largest ships that could be built on the single building way in the Welding Shipyards plant.  Consequently, they were the last ships built there, as Mr. Ludwig moved the whole shipbuilding division of National Bulk Carriers to Kure, Japan where he had leased the old Japanese navy yard for 10 years to build the large ships he was planning.  The Bulkpetrol class  ships were built between 1948 and 1950.  Ludwig was known to obtain a lot of materials second hand in order to cut costs.  It was rumored that this whole class of tankers was built from spare parts, but the rumors probably aren't completely true.  However, all of them are known to have had engines built several years before, which Ludwig had reconditioned and installed while the ships were constructed (1948 - 1950).  The ships were of all welded construction, with huge sections being prefabricated and lifted into place for assembly. Oddly enough, all but Bulkpetrol herself came to untimely ends.

Ship Hull# Built GRT DWT Length Beam Comments
Bulkpetrol 24 1948 15,591 30,011 629'8" 84'2" Largest tanker ever built when launched. Engine made 1943 by General Electric Co., Lynn MA, fitted 1948. Renamed Vega 1966, Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Vega, and then back to Vega 1967. August 1971 aft section joined to forward section of Mobile Energy. New measurements 740'11" X 104', 26,181 GRT, 52,837 DWT. Name changed to Energy 1974. Broken up Netherlands 1975.
Bulkoil(II) 25 1949 15,586 30,006 629'8" 84'2" Same name as a smaller tanker built by Welding Shipyards (hull #10) in 1942. Engine made 1943 by General Electric Co., Lynn MA, fitted 1949. Renamed Altair 1966, Pegasos 1967, Keo 1968. Broke in two in Atlantic storm about 120 miles south of Nantucket on 5 November 1969, no survivors. Bow section sank on 8 November, 38-32N, 066-38W. Stern section never found.
Bulkoceanic 26 1949 15,586 30,016 629'8" 84'2" Engine made 1937 by Norfolk Navy Yard, installed in 1949. Renamed Pacocean 1968. Broke in two in storm off Taiwan on 25 November 1969. Fore section sank on 25 November, aft section sank 26 November. 45 of 48 crewmen rescued.
Bulkstar 27 1949 15,586 30,013 629'8" 84'2" Engine made 1937 by Norfolk Navy Yard, installed 1949. Renamed Amphialos 1963. Broke in two in storm off Cape Cod on 1 March 1964. Bow sank immediately, stern sank while under tow on 5 March 1964.
Bulktrader 28 1950 15,586 30,004 629'8" 84'2" Last ship built by Welding Shipyard. Engine made 1937 by Norfolk Navy Yard, installed 1950. Sold and renamed Golden Drake c.1964. Reported explosion onboard 28 January 1972. Crew rescued by Venezuelan vessel. Coast Guard extinguished fires on 30 January. Attempt to tow vessel failed on 4 February when the bow became awash. Vessel sank 1 March 1972 at 31-02N, 038-34W.

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Created by A. Davis Whittaker, Jr.
Last updated on 20 February 2005.