MV Neptuna

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Neptuna on her side in Darwin Harbour
Name: Rio Panuco
Builder: Germania shipbuilding, Kiel, Building No. 459
Laid down: 18 June 1924
Launched: 2 October 1924
Fate: sunk in 1942, broken up partially in 1960
General characteristics
Type: Passenger/Transport
Displacement: 1,410 long tons (1,433 t)
Length: 125.08 m (410.4 ft)
Beam: 15.84 m (52.0 ft)
Propulsion: Screw

Neptuna was a steel vessel of 5952 tons, built in Kiel in 1924 measuring 393.3 x 51.9 x 25.3 ft.

Neptuna was built in Germany in 1924. They traded to Central America as Rio Panuco but during the Great Depression the company owning them (H. Schuldt of Flensburg) went bankrupt. They were sold in 1931 to the Norddeutscher Lloyd Line of Bremen, who renamed her Neptun and by 1934 ran her on the service between New Guinea and Hong Kong. This was in competition with Burns Philp, who asked the Australian Government to prevent them from operating out of New Guinea. The Government declined and instead offered to pay the interest on any money Burns Philp borrowed to buy her. This was agreed and she was purchased in 1935. Neptun was renamed Neptuna.

Neptuna operated on the Australia, New Guinea, Philippines, Hong Kong, Saigon Service. Saigon in French Indo China (now Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam) was then the main source of supply of rice to New Guinea.


Neptuna was destroyed during the Japanese air raid on Darwin, 19 February 1942 while discharging munitions. Bombs exploded in the saloon and engine room setting her on fire. Forty five were already dead, and many seriously injured as the crew prepared to abandon her, but 200 tons of depth charges exploded before they had all reached safety, showering the harbour with debris and sending flames and smoke 100 metres into the air.

The wreck was salvaged by the Japanese in 1960. What remains of Neptuna lies in Darwin Harbour at position 12°28.30′S 130°50.95′E / 12.4717°S 130.84917°E / -12.4717; 130.84917Coordinates: 12°28.30′S 130°50.95′E / 12.4717°S 130.84917°E / -12.4717; 130.84917.[1]

File:Neptuna explosion 19 February 1942.jpg
Neptuna explodes at Stokes Hill Wharf, Darwin


  1. "World War II Shipwrecks". Northern Territory Government, Australia. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 

External links

de:Rio Panuco (1924)