SS El Occidente was a cargo and passenger steamship launched on 24 September 1910 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. of Newport News, Virginia (yard no. 133), and delivered to the Atlantic division of the Morgan Line on 2 December 1910. She was the newest of four sister ships; the older three being El Sol, El Mundo, and El Oriente. El Occidente was 6,008 gross register tons (GRT), was 430 feet 2 inches (131.11 m) long by 53 feet 1 inch (16.18 m) abeam, and made 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h). The vessel sailed for the Morgan Line, the brand name of the Southern Pacific Steamship Company (a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad), which employed her to carry cargo and a limited number of passengers between New York and New Orleans, the eastern terminus of the Southern Pacific line.
In April 1913, The New York Times reported that El Occidente, loaded only with cargo, had rammed a schooner in fog off the New Jersey coast. Responding to a wireless message, the Savannah steamer City of Montgomery came alongside El Occidente to offer assistance, but was refused. The name and fate of the schooner were not reported.
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