Murky treasure ship find raises doubts
ss WEST CHETAC
Built 1919 South Western SB Co San Pedro
24 September 1942
Reportedly with general war supplies on a voyage from Norfolk VA to Basra. Ship was built for US Maritime Commission and at time of sinking was operated by Seas Shipping Inc, New York
31 dead and 19 survivors. Survivors questioned by the Germans. Sunk 100 miles north of Georgetown, BG
ss TAMBOUR (ex FIDRA)
Built 1917 Fredriksstad
26 September 1942
Sunk west of Georgetown. She was on a voyage from Paramaribo to Trinidad with 2500 tons of bauxite. She was operated by Alcoa for the US War Shipping Administration.
8 dead. 24 survived.
Built 1917 at Belfast
2nd October 1942
130 miles off Georgetown, British Guiana
Under contract with American War Shipping Administration. Chartered to Alcoa SS Co.
Voyage: Paramaribo to Trinidad
Reported cargo: 3348 tons of bauxite.
On board 40 merchant crew, nine US Naval Armed Guard. 6 dead. 43 survivors including her master
1919 American SB Co Lorain OH
4th October 1942
Reportedly with ballast on a voyage from Trinidad to Georgetown.
Sunk west of Georgetown with the loss of 5 lives. 29 survived. Sank after two torpedoes struck.
ss WILLIAM A. MCKENNEY
Built 1916 Newport News, Virginia
5th October 1942
Cargo consisted of some 3000 tons of bauxite ore and general cargo.
Sunk between British Guiana and Corocoro Island
1 dead, 34 survived. Sunk by Uboat shelling after initial torpedo attack.
ss PREDSEDNIK KOPAJTIC
1928 - Clyde SB & Eng Ltd, Port Glasgow
21 September 1942
Sunk off BG with the loss of three crew. 25 survived.
On a voyage from Trinidad to Demerara with ballast. She caught fire and sank after a second torpedo hit her, the first attempt missed.
CITY OF RIPON (ex LEPANDO)
Built 1915 by Russell & Co, Port Glasgow
11 November 1942
90 miles northwest of Georgetown, British Guiana
On a voyage from Port Said to Capetown then Trinidad and New York
Reported with 2000 tons of sand as ballast. 56 died and 22 survived. She was hit with one torpedo which disabled her and then finished off with two further torpedoes. Her master survived along with 18 crew and three gunners.
ss CITY OF BATH
Built 1926 W Gray & Co, West Hartlepool
2 December 1942
6800 tons of general cargo which included 2000 tons of copper ingots, 500 t of magnesite and 500 tons of chrome ore. On a voyage from Mombasa to Pernambuco and Trinidad then UK
3 dead, master and 37 others survived. Sunk northwest of Georgetown, BG.
ss SOLON II
Built 1925 W Gray Sunderland
3 December 1942
Cargo: manganese ore and 2000 tons of copper.
Voyage: Turkey to Capetown then Pernambuco and Trinidad and Baltimore
Sunk some 150 miles N.E. of Georgetown. At the time she was operated by the Ministry of War Transport. 75 died including her master Capt John Robinson. Seven survivors.
CLOSEST TO LOCATION?
Built 1918 Skinner & Eddy, Seattle.
17 Sept 1942
Reported to have water ballast.
On a voyage from Trinidad to Georgetown. Vessel operated by A.H. Bull & Co Inc
Sank 41 miles off the Georgetown Beacon (08.03N, 58.13W) . 1 dead the rest of the 40 aboard survived. Survivors questioned.
Whilst we cannot be sure of the vessel in question, one thing is certain, she cannot have been sunk on the date that the salvage company thinks, nor by the U-boat claimed. Any of the above could be the ship and we'd be delighted to hear from Sub Sea Research if our efforts have helped ID their wreck.
With thanks to www.uboat.net and www.wrecksite.eu from which most data has been obtained
Copyright B. Biddulph 2009. Reproduction strictly prohibited without permission