CHANCELLOR, Merritt & Chapman Derrick & Wrecking Co. – 1920
The derrick boat "CHANCELLOR" was one of the many vessels owned and operated by the Merritt & Chapman Derrick & Wrecking Company of New York City. The "CHANCELLOR" was built in 1910 at Tottenville, Staten Island, NY. Founded in 1860 by Israel Merritt, the company specialized in marine salvage, underwater operations, maritime investigation and later on, in marine construction projects.
In 1898, the U.S. War Department hired Merritt & Chapman to determine the cause of the explosion that destroyed the "USS MAINE" in Havana, Cuba, the incident that led to the Spanish-American War. The most famous operation carried out by Merrit & Chapman was the salvage of the French liner "NORMANDIE" after she burned and capsized in 1942 at Pier 88 in New York City. The ship was righted in 1943 in the world's most expensive salvage operation. Merritt & Chapman ceased operations in 1971.