History and Mission Statement
In 1944, 531 ships were built and of those, 414 were cargo ships and the remainder was transports. 272 were 6000 HP engines and the balance boasted 8000 HP. 150 were named after schools and universities, 20 were named after countries and the rest reflected geographic names. On January 12, 1944, the very first Victory Ship, named the United Victory, was launched.
The world-class SS American Victory was built in 55 days and was delivered to the U.S. War Shipping Administration by the California Shipbuilding Yard on May 24, 1945. After serving in WWII, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the ship went through a $2.5 million restoration in June 1985. In October, 1996, Captain John C. Timmel learned the SS American Victory was earmarked for scrap if not acquired for memorial purposes. Feeling that a museum would be feasible in Tampa, FL and that it would act as a purveyor or maritime memories, the ship was towed from Virginia to its permanent location in the Channelside District in downtown Tampa. Currently, the SS American Victory is only one of 3 fully-functioning ships in the country.
Aboard the American Victory Ship, visitors can come aboard a fully-functioning 1940s era steamship. They experience an unforgettable voyage of discovery and relive history by visiting cavernous three level cargo holds, radio and gyro rooms, hospital, galley, weaponry, steering stations, flying bridge, signaling equipment, wheelhouse, mess halls, engine room, crew cabins, lifeboats and cargo equipment, then gaze upon photographs, uniforms, medals, documents and naval equipment.
For a more specific history, click here.