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On 7th July 1942, the American Liberty ship “Rufus King” while on passage from Los Angeles to Brisbane loaded down to the Plimsoll line with necessary war supplies, went aground on the South Passage.

During the last few hours, there was nothing for certain why the vessel was in that channel and there were many speculations, one of which was that the Master was of German descent and was not particularly keen about supporting the war effort, or maybe it was a miscalculation of misjudged Point Lookout for Cape Moreton

Anyhow, the skipper was sent back to the United States under guard for an investigation of which we have no knowledge of the outcome.
South Passage was much too shallow for “Rufus King” and she stranded and broke in two just forward of the bridge.

The stern section was too far gone to be salvaged, but the forward section was towed to New Guinea and was used by the American armed forces as a stores barge and a workshop and was thereafter referred to as the “Half King”

Source: Queensland Maritime Museum.     Photo courtesy of State Library Queensland