I'm looking for recent dive/fishing reports of the Radford. If you've been there in the last year or two, I'd like to hear what you found. In particular, where is the stern now? I can find no reports since 2012.
New Jersey Scuba Diving
- shipwreck, freighter, USA
- 1943 Sturgeon Bay WS USA
- ( 176 x 32 ft ) 560 tons
- Seacoast Products Inc, Fisherman Magazine
- Friday March 29, 1985
- 39°13.763' -74°12.182'
- 85 ft
The Pauline Marie lies on her starboard side, with the bow pointing north. She rises some 30 ft off the sandy bottom and can be easily penetrated.
The vessel was donated by Seacoast Products - a menhaden fishing concern, which had plants in Port Monmouth NJ ( closed 1981 ) and Lewes Delaware. They had planned to use it as a purse seiner, but were bought out by Omega Proteins in 1984, and Omega apparently scrapped the vessel instead. Menhaden, or "bunker", is an inedible type of herring which was processed into fish meal and oil, used in fertilizers and animal feeds. The plant in Port Monmouth ( which gave off a horrendous smell that pervaded the entire area ) was torn down around 1987, and the site is now vacant and decaying. Seacoast even had a private airfield for spotter planes there; the runway is now used for leaf composting. The Menhaden fishery is today greatly reduced, due to over-fishing and regulation.
An AKL-class freighter in World War II livery. AKLs served through Vietnam
The Pauline Marie was a WWII-vintage Army FS-class light cargo ship, design 381, known as an AKL in Navy service. The Army had over 511 of these little freighters, some of which it transferred to the Navy. The Army did not give them names, but the Navy did name their AKLs. Most of the Army's boats were manned by the Coast Guard. Several AKLs were later converted to electronic listening ships, including the infamous USS Pueblo, which was illegally seized by North Korea in 1968.
USS Pueblo remains docked as a "museum" in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The original military designation of the Pauline Marie, and the original civilian owner are not known. Assuming the known information is accurate ( probably read from the builder's plaque ) that narrows down the possibilities to FS-361 through FS-374. Most of these remained in the western Pacific. 361, 367, 368, 369, and 371 are un-accounted-for, so I would guess that Pauline Marie is one of these. 371 went to Panama, and is the likeliest candidate. Perhaps someday somewill will come forward with the exact one.
Another sister, USS Hewell ( AKL-14 ) served as the fictitious "USS Reluctant" ( "The Bucket" ) in the 1955 movie version of Mister Roberts, starring James Cagney and Henry Fonda. The film, based on a play and novel, humorously documented life on a Navy transport in the backwaters of World War II - travels "from tedium to apathy and back again, with a side trip to monotony." It's a great film, humorous and patriotic, with terrific performances by Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and James Cagney as the Captain.
James Cagney as the unsympathetic Captain of 'The Bucket', with his palm tree, which ensign Pulver eventually threw overboard
I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.
Copyright © 1996-2016 Rich Galiano
unless otherwise noted