SS Pedernales

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Name: 1938: Pedernales
1957: Esso Pedernales
1958: Katendrecht
Owner: Lago Oil & Transport Co. Ltd. (Esso)
Port of registry: London
Builder: Cantiere Riuniti dell´Adriatico
Monfalcone, Italy
Completed: September 1938
Refit: after torpedo attack on 16 February 1942
Homeport: London
Fate: broken up at Rotterdam, October 1959
General characteristics
Type: oil tanker
Tonnage: 4,317 GT (gross tonnage)
Crew: 26

SS Pedernales was a lake tanker of the World War II and post war eras. She was built in 1938 in Monfalcone, Italy, and sailed under the British flag. Pedernales was severely damaged in a torpedo attack on 16 February 1942 while anchored at Aruba. The damaged ship was cut into three sections. The fore and aft sections were joined together and the ship made her way to Baltimore, Maryland, to be rebuilt. The middle section was left in Aruba and, after being used for a number of years as a target by Dutch gunners after the war, has become a scuba diving site. The rebuilt portion of the tanker, later renamed Esso Pedernales and Katendrecht, was scrapped in 1959.


SS Pedernales was completed in September 1938 by Cantiere Riuniti dell'Adriatico of Monfalcone, Italy.[1] She operated as a lake tanker, sailing from Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela to the refinery at Aruba.

On the morning of 16 February 1942, German U-boat U-156, under the command of Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartenstein, commenced an attack on oil tankers at anchor in San Nicolas Harbor in Aruba as part of Operation Neuland. Torpedoes fired from the U-boat sank tanker SS Oranjestad and damaged Pedernales and the American tanker SS Arkansas. Pedernales was beached by two tugs and abandoned.[1]

Later, the hulk was towed to the Lago Dry Dock on Aruba where she was cut into three sections. The fore and aft sections were joined together and the ship made way under her own power to Baltimore, Maryland, where she had a new midsection installed, and continued her career.[1]

After the end of World War II, the tanker continued sailing under her same name until 1957 when she was renamed Esso Pedernales. After another renaming the following year to Katendrecht, she was scrapped at Rotterdam in 1959.[1]


The damaged middle section of Pedernales was towed away from the dry dock and was used for many years as a target by Dutch Navy aircraft. The bombing practice scattered the remnants of the wreck into eight sections of wreckage. Portions of the wreck are a popular scuba diving attraction. The three largest sections of the wreck are used daily by local dive operators. The remnants rest in 25 feet (7.6 m) of water at 12°34′44″N 70°03′30″W / 12.57889°N 070.05833°W / 12.57889; -070.05833Coordinates: 12°34′44″N 70°03′30″W / 12.57889°N 070.05833°W / 12.57889; -070.05833


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Helgason, Guðmundur. "Allied ships hit: Pedernales". The U-boat War. Retrieved 2008-07-10.