S.S. ALCOA GUIDE: Attack & Survivor’s Narrative
by Eric T. Wiberg, www.uboatsbermuda.com, Feb. 2014
The US-flagged steamship Alcoa Guide was built in 1919 by the Downey Shipbuilding Corporation of Arlington, New York. She was the second ship built by the yard and was commissioned for the United States Shipping Board. Her original name was the SS Osakis for the USSB, then after 1922 the SS Manhattan Island up to 1931. Thereafter it was owned by Swayne & Hoyt Company Ltd. of San Francisco as the SS Point Brava.
From 1940 to the time of her loss in April 1942, she was owned by the Alcoa Steamship Company, Inc. of New York, NY, and registered to that port. Alcoa was a subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of America in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The ship was 4,834 gross registered tons, 531.6 feet long, 52.5 feet wide and 27.5 feet deep. Built of steel, she had a triple expansion steam engine fed by three scotch boilers which generated 339 net horsepower. The single-screw propeller moved Alcoa Guide at up to 10.5 knots.