The Pugh is a former USN YFR, a type of vessel designed and built to supply the anchored fleet at large congested naval stations/bases. Three types of vessels were in her class …
one being a YO for Yard Oiler carrying special lubes to large ships, another was a YF for supplying dry stores, and the a YFR such as this vessel for transporting refrigerated cargo as a Yard Freighter Refrigerated. At end of hostilities she was left to the Philippine government along with other craft, and years later under Gen Marcos’ era was utilized for the leader to transport 11 tons of his gold collections clandestinely over to Tinian Island in the Northern Marianas Islands where the large B29’s had flown from to finish the war against Japan.
After offloading to a waiting boat for loading onto a clandestine aircraft flying the cargo to Switzerland and into vaults that have yet to be located, the Pugh was ordered to proceed to Truk Lagoon, and leave the ship to return home. The ship sat afterwards for several weeks before locals began to see what they could ’borrow’ from her. About 6-8 months later after being viewed to be slowly sinking, some volunteers towed her down to a location off the South Field former seaplane base to open seacocks and let her settle upright onto a 50ft floor. Today nearly 45 years after sinking, there are many fine corals and fish collecting around a still interestingly intact little reefer ship. Maybe a few grains of gold lying behind those reefer coils in the holds..?
…at a quick glance,
- Length: about 160ft, beam about 35 ft, 12 ft draft
- Configuration: Accommodation house aft, two holds forward with deck winches, cargo masts
- Machinery: Twin GMC ‘Cleveland 2 stroke engines on twin screws, at 500 hp each
- Refrigeration: Four GMC Detroit 6-71 diesels driving refrigeration compressors
- Probable Speed: 9-10 knots