U.S.S. Maury (AGS-16)

Maury was built as the Artemis-class attack cargo ship Renate. Under this name, she served in the final months of WWII in the Pacific. She was converted to a survey ship after the war and renamed Maury.

Construction (as Renate)

She was laid down by Walsh-Kaiser Co. at Providence, RI on 21 November 1944 and commissioned on 28 February 1945.

Service (as Renate)

Renate deployed to the Pacific on 31 March 1945. Arriving at Pearl Harbor on 21 April, she began cargo runs to the western pacific. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 14 August, the day before the Japanese surrender. With war over, Renate was assigned to occupation duty, and she took aboard a detachment of the 5th Marines for transport to Japan. In October, she began “Magic Carpet” runs, bringing battle-weary U.S. servicemen home. The ship completed her last run at San Francisco in January 1946 and sailed for the east coast in February.

Conversion to Maury Renate arrived at Norfolk, VA on 26 February. Four months later, she got underway for Portsmouth Navy Yard for conversion to a survey ship. She was redesignated U.S.S. Maury (AGS-16) on 12 July 1946. Work was completed in October, with many changes to her profile and equipment. Most noticeable were a new helipad and helicopter, and the addition of large “sound” boats, which would be used for coastal areas that the larger ship could not enter. In addition, Maury featured an array of sounding and charting gear and repair shops for her new shipboard consorts.

Service (as Maury)

The newly converted survey ship got under way on 6 January 1947. Her destination was the Pacific, where she would survey the old battlegrounds of Truk and Kwajalein. With this a success, she sailed for New York and service with the Atlantic Fleet. Maury made three cruises to the Persian Gulf in the early 1950s, charting waters that would soon erupt into a long cycle of terrible conflict. She travelled to the North Atlantic in company with fellow survey vessels Sheldrake and Prevail in October of 1952 to correct earlier readings. Her work allowed more accurate predictions of hurricane activity. On 17 September 1959, she travelled into the Black Sea as part of a survey of Turkish waters, becoming the first U.S. Navy ship to do so since 1945.

Her work completed in the Mediterranean, Maury was transferred back to the Pacific Fleet. She reached Pearl Harbor on 22 March 1960 and began a long-term survey of the western pacific and Indian oceans. Her work took her to the Philippines, Indochina, and Malaysia. She finally returned to Hawaii in 1963. Maury left on 1 February 1965 for a short survey of Colombia. Upon her return, she began preparations for deployment to Viet Nam. On 1 November, she got underway for Southeast Asia. The ship spent most of her time charting areas in and around the Mekong River delta, a major waterway in Viet Nam. The “brown water” navy treasured her work and she made additional trips to Vietnamese waters on every one of her subsequent deployments.

Fate

Maury entered the San Francisco Bay on 8 December 1969 and prepared for deactivation. She was decommissioned on 19 December 1969 and towed to Suisun Bay. She was sold for scrap on 10 August 1973.

Risk of Asbestos Exposure

From the 1930s until the 1970s, the U.S. Navy required all steam-powered vessels to have their engines insulated with asbestos. As a steamer built during WWII, Maury would have contained this insulation throughout her internal spaces.
Asbestos products break up into tiny fibers when damaged or worn. Inhalation of these fibers is a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant lung cancer. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as chemotherapy can be employed to fight the disease. If you or someone you know served aboard Maury or worked on her in a shipyard and has contracted mesothelioma, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to receive free information regarding your rights to compensation.

Resources/Further Reading

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