LARGE TROOP TRANSPORT VESSEL PROTECTED AGAINST FIRE THREAT
S. S. Europa, German Luxury Liner Converted to Ship for Moving Troops
WITHDRAWAL of British ships from American troop transport service caused a sudden shift in plans for converting America’s biggest war prize, the A-177, now USS Europa, former North German Lloyd liner, into a U. S. Navy transport. Instead of 10,000-troop capacity as originally planned, the erstwhile Nazi luxury ship (she cost $17,000,000) was rushed through conversion to only 7,000 troop capacity. She was scheduled to go to the other side for her first cargo of soldiers on Nov. 9.
The Europa was converted at Bayonne. N. J., beginning Sept. 25, and was scheduled for 45 days of refitting. This was interrupted when L. S. Government officials decided that it would take too much time, and would cost $3,000,000 to finish the job.
Lt. Carl F. Dreesen, USNR. Battalion Chief. FDNY, retired, is the Fire Marshal of the 936-foot vessel which has a gross tonnage of 49,7.50. He was flown tu Bremerhaven, Germany, last summer with a crew of Navy fire fighters to prepare the ship from a fire-protection standpoint for the trip westward. There’ had been a couple of fires in the ship at Brcmerhaven. Lt. Dreesen held six drills daily at sea by six repair parties aboard. These specialists consisted of fire fighters in the Navy, originally from several of the larger Fire Departments of this country.
The USS Europa has 29,200 feet of new hose on 292 outlets; 435—15-lb CO2 extinguishers; 135—50-lb CO. cylinders in a hank for cargo holds, four fire rooms and two engine rooms; 48 alarm boxes; seven pumps capable of 6,050 GPM and 33 applicators for one and a half inch allpurpose three-position fog nozzles. The ship carries 6,100 tons of fuel oil; 280 tons of Diesel oil: 175 tons of lubricating oil; 4,300 tons of fresh water and 1,200 tons of reserve water.
On the trip from England last September, the most extreme precautions were taken. With the fate of the SS Normandie in mind, the Navy official statement said: “Since the Navy took over the Europa, a vigilant fire watch has been maintained. During welding operations and other repair activities, a dozen fires were spotted by the Fire Watch, and all were extinguished without damage. But for the Fire Watch the blazes might have gained headway, as happened on other ships.”
While in port last month, Comdr. Harold J. Burke, USNR, of the Navy’s Fire Damage Control Section, Bureau of Ships, made a survey of the Europa with Lt. Dreesen and Lt. W. C. Freitag, USNR. They joined in recommending additional fire protection, to wit: two Diesel pumps each of 1,000 GPM; an eight-inch fire main and deck wash system on the main promenade starboard side; salt-water sprinkler system for stairwells and vestibules; transverse water curtains with 260 L-11 Navy heads in eight separate areas to subdivide all decks excepting where there is machinery; 154 exhaust and ventilator fans topside; a new CO2 system of three cylinders each in four galleys and paint rooms; a stationary CO2 system with 135—50-lb cylinders to protect fire rooms and holds.
Lt. Dreesen was in the New York Fire Department 24 years. He retired last year to go into the Navy. His last assignment was the 10th Batt. in the Yorkville section of Manhattan. He has an excellent record in the department for efficiency and deportment.