american American President Lines - APL - President Terminal Steamship Co. SS President Coolidge (+1942)
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nationality american
purpose transport
type passenger ship
propulsion steam
date built 1931
is nickname no
live live
weight (tons) 21936  grt
dimensions 199.4 x 24.7 x 10.4 m
material steel
engine 2 steam turbines with electric drive, 2 screws, 12 Babcock & Wilcox boilers
power 26500  s.h.p.
speed 20.5  knots
yard no. 340
IMO/Off. no. 2231219
call sign
about the loss
cause lost mine
date lost 23/10/1942  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.5rank: 661
about people
Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News
engine by
[1] Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co., Essington
[2] Babcock & Wilcox Co. - B&W
last owner
[1]American President Lines - APL - President Terminal Steamship Co., San Francisco
SS President Coolidge (+1942)
period 1938 ~ 1942
IMO/Off. no.: 2231219
call sign: 
prev. owners
[2]Dollar Steamship Lines Inc. Ltd. - Robert Dollar & Co. - Dollar Line, San Francisco
SS President Coolidge
period 1931 ~ 1938
IMO/Off. no.: 2231219
call sign: 
captain Henry Nelson
complement 5340
about the wreck
depth (m.) 73 max. / 21 min. (m)
position on seabed to port
visibility good
protected yes
war grave no
entered by Pablobini
entered 30/11/2010
last update Vleggeert Nico
last update 23/04/2014
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  The Wreck today  


The Coolidge is protected by Vanuatu law and provides endless enjoyment for divers. Her dual identity means that divers see a luxury cruise liner and a military ship on a single dive. Coral grows all around the wreck and many sea creatures such as sea turtles and moray eels call the wreck home. Resting in warm, tropical waters, the SS President Coolidge is a marvelous underwater playground for any diver.

Lying on her side in 70 - 240 ft of water, she is perhaps the most accessible shipwreck of this size and type for divers. The wreck is renowned as one of the most desirable dives in the world due to the (relatively) shallow site, easy access off the beach, the often superb visibility, the warm waters and the relatively intact ship itself. The depths involved mean that, with care and decompression stops, recreational divers can explore the wreck without the need to use specialized equipment.

Almost completely intact, you can swim through the numerous holds and decks viewing the reminders of her days as a cruise liner and the remnants of her days as a troop ship. There are guns, cannons, jeeps, helmets, trucks and personal supplies left by some of the soldiers, as well as a beautiful statue of “The Lady” (a porcelain relief of a lady riding a unicorn) chandeliers and a mosaic tile fountain. The wreck is covered in coral and is the home to a plethora of sea life such including sea turtles, barracuda, lionfish, and a host of reef fish.

Unfortunately however the spectacular dive that is the Coolidge will not be around forever. Time is taking its toll and with recent earthquakes collapsing sections of the wreck, access enjoyed by divers in the past will not remain.
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copyright: public domain
 copyright: public domain copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: UK Hydrographic Office copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu 
  copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu copyright: Unknown - onbekend - inconnu  
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Pablobini30/11/2010On October 6, she set sail from her home port of San Francisco, California for New Caledonia and Espiritu Santo , Vanuatu A large military base and harbor had been established on Espiritu Santo and the harbor was heavily protected by mines . Information about safe entry into the harbor had been accidentally omitted from the Coolidge ' s sailing orders, and upon her approach to Santo on October 26,1942, the SS Coolidge , fearing Japanese submarines and unaware of the mine fields, attempted to enter the harbor through the largest and most obvious channel.

Seconds before the disaster, a morse warning came over the radio: STOP! You are sitting on mines. But it was too late. A friendly mine struck the ship at the engine room and moments later, a second mine hit her near the stern. Captain Hen ry Nelson, knowing that he was going to lose the ship, because of its now apparent list, ran her aground and ordered troops to abandon ship. Not believing the ship would sink, troops were told to leave all of their belongings behind under the impression that they would conduct salvage operations over the next few days. Over the course of the next 90 minutes, 5,340 men got safely off of the wreck and to shore.

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About Builders
 Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News

Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), originally Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company (NNS&DD), was the largest privately-owned shipyard in the United States prior to being purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2001. Known as Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN), and later Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News (NGSB-NN), the company was located in Newport News, Virginia, and often participates in projects with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, also located adjacent to Hampton Roads.

The shipyard is a major employer not only for the lower Virginia Peninsula, but also portions of Hampton Roads south of the James River and the harbor, portions of the Middle Peninsula region, and even some northeastern counties of North Carolina

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Babcock & Wilcox Co. - B&W
In 1867 Stephen Wilcox and partner George Herman Babcock patented the Babcock & Wilcox Non-Explosive Boiler, which used tubing to generate higher pressures and was more efficient than existing designs. In 1891, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd is established as a separate United Kingdom company, to be responsible for all sales outside the US and Cuba.
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SS President Coolidge (+1942)
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