The O’Brien is the only active WWII Liberty Ship out of more than 2,700 that is still in its original configuration
In May 2020, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, the only active World War II Liberty Ship still in its original configuration and only remaining merchant ship that served during the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, was nearly destroyed by an early morning four-alarm fire at its home at Pier 45 in San Francisco, California.
The fire broke out at a nearby building, but severe heat melted the ship’s plastics, broke glass and compromised cables and equipment.
The damaged O’Brien was forced to relocate to a temporary home at Pier 35 for several months for repairs. Earlier this year, The Crosby Group worked with Matt Lasher, Executive Director at the SS Jeremiah O’Brien National Liberty Ship Memorial, to support the efforts to restore the ship and bring it back to Pier 45.
Original Crosby shackles and wire rope clips were still being used on the O’Brien at the time of the fire. All equipment survived the extreme conditions but were replaced out of precaution. Crosby was honored to donate the rigging hardware to reconstruct the ship and move it back to Pier 45.
On March 23, 2021, the O’Brian returned back to its home at Pier 45.
The SS Jeremiah O’Brien entered service in 1943 and made seven voyages during World War II, including carrying Allied personnel and supplies to the Normandy beaches in support of the D-Day operation. After the war, the ship was retired from service and remained part of the reserve fleet in San Francisco. 33 years later, skillful maneuvering by US Maritime Administration official Rear Adm. Thomas J. Patterson, a former Liberty ship sailor, saved it from the scrap yard.
There were more than 2,700 similar Liberty ships built during World War II.
Today the O’Brien is operated as the Liberty Ship Memorial. Public tours are available, and the cruises are conducted through the San Francisco Bay several times each year.
Visit ssjeremiahobrien.org to learn more or make a donation to help preserve the O’Brien’s legacy for generations to come.