Spanischer Dampfer SAN EDUARDO

Begonnen von Dimitris Galon, 13 Juni 2016, 12:29:47

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Dimitris Galon

Hallo in die Runde.

Am 31.05. und 01.06.2016 haben wir ein unbekanntes Schiffswrack am Südwesten der griechischen Insel Serifos (westliche Kykladen) betaucht, vermesst und dokumentiert. Nach gründlicher Feldforschung und Archivarbeit waren wir in der Lage das Schiff als den spanischen Dampfer SAN EDUARDO zu identifizieren. Die SAN EDUARDO wurde am 09.05.1943 von einem Beufighter (F/Lt. J.M. Atkins (P) und F/O F.I. Wellington (O)) der ,,227 Long Range Fighter Squadron" in der Nähe vor Kap KYKLOPS (Insel Serifos) angegriffen und versenkt.

Hier folgt ein kleiner Bericht auf English über die ,,Vita" der SAN EDUARDO. Aus Zeitmangel wurde der Bericht noch nicht ins Deutsch übersetzt.

Gruß an Allen

The shipwreck of the Spanish steamer SAN EDUARDO (ex HÉRCULES)

In memoriam Juan Antonio Padrón Albornoz "el Almirante" (1928 – 1992)

On 31.05. and 01.06.2016 we dived, surveyed and documented a shipwreck at the southwest of the Greek island of Seriphos (West Cyclades). The vessel was known among local divers as the "Kalogeros Shipwreck" due to her being located near the area of "Kalogeros". After thorough preparation, field research and investigation in the archives, we were able to identify the vessel as the Spanish steamer SAN EDUARDO who was attacked by an allied aircraft on 9 May 1943 and sank at the southwest coast of the island of Seriphos.

The vessel was built as HÉRCULES in 1917 in Ferrol (A Coruña, Galicia), Spain, and was sailing under a Spanish flag. The general characteristics and the ship's properties are listed below:

Former names: HÉRCULES
Built: 1917
International call sign: RGMB
Type of ship: Freighter
Nationality: Spanish
Size (GRT): 300
Size (NRT): 124
Length (m): 46
Width (m): 5,8
Depth (m): 3,35
Propulsion: Steam reciprocating three-cylinder engine made by A.G. Weser, Bremen, Germany
Output: 51 NHP
Screws: 1
Crew: 15
Last owner: Comercial Maritima de Transportes S.A., Madrid, Spain
Last captain: Don Eduardo Butragueño Bueno, Toledo, Spain

In the 30´s, the steamer was property of the shipping company "A.T. Vega", based in Gijón (Asturias), Spain. On 9 July 1941, the Spanish shipping company TRANSCOMAR (Comercial Maritima de Transportes S.A.) bought the S/S SAN EDUARDO with other Spanish ships. The company TRANSCOMAR which was established in July 1941, was in fact a dummy corporation managed by Nazi Germany through the Spanish-German holding company SOFINDUS (Sociedad Financiera Industrial, director Johannes Bernhardt), Madrid, which was actually a branch of the well-known major German company "ROWAK Handelsgesellschaft mbH", Berlin.

In the summer of 1941, the OKM ("Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine" = high command of the German Navy) ordered the acquisition of Spanish vessels through SOFINDUS and TRANSCOMAR with the aim of supporting Erwin Rommel´s North African Campaign. Due to the great losses of Italian transporters incurred by the action of the British submarines, the Germans decided to use simultaneously Spanish vessels, complete with Spanish crews and sailing under the neutral Spanish flag, in order to try to evade the Royal Navy. This was to carry fuel, ammunition and supplies to Rommel´s army. This operation received the confidential designation "Operation HETZE" ("Hetze" = Hustle). Ten vessels of the TRANSCOMAR fleet (ADEJE, ISORA, MARIA AMALIA, NERE AMETZA, RIGEL, SAN EDUARDO, SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR, SAN JUAN II, JOSÉ TRUJILLO and VICENTE) were sent to Greece in the summer 1941 to support across the Aegean as well Rommel´s "Afrikakorps". The German garrisons of the Greek islands and the mainland were also supplied by these vessels.

Everything worked fine for the Germans, who succeeded in transporting over 250.000 tons of supplies to Rommel´s army, until spring 1943 when the Allies finally started to attack the Spanish vessels in the Aegean. The first operation, against a Spanish vessel in Greek waters was carried out on 05.04.1943 by the Greek submarine KATSONIS (commander Vasilis Laskos), which attacked and sank the Spanish vessel SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR off the bay of Merichas (Kythnos Island, West Cyclades).

Almost a month later (09.05.1943) a British Beaufighter aircraft (Crew: F/Lt. J.M. Atkins (P) and F/O F.I. Wellington (O)), of the 227th Long Range Fighter Squadron located a Spanish vessel near cape "Kyklops" (southwest Seriphos) and attacked it with bombs and machine guns. The vessel was the Spanish S/S SAN EDUARDO that was on the way from Piraeus to Milos Island (West Cyclades) under the command of the Spanish Captain Don Eduardo Butragueño Bueno and a Spanish-Greek mixed crew of 14. In accordance to the war diary of the German Admiral Aegean (KTB Admiral Ägäis) and the captain´s report, S/S SAN EDUARDO sank with four casualties near the coast of Seriphos Island, between the locations "Koutalas" and "Mega Livadi".

The S/S SAN EDUARDO was the second loss of a Spanish steamer in the Aegean during World War II.

The S/S SAN EDUARDO sits upright on her keel at a maximum depth of 53 meters. The longitudinal axis of the vessel (stern to bow) has a southeast direction. The overall length of the shipwreck is 46 meters and the width approximately 6 meters. The absence of engine and boiler, the empty holds, and the partly destroyed and collapsed superstructure, are evidences proving that the vessel was looted in the past, presumably after WWII. The hull, the holds, the remaining parts and some other characteristics of the vessel are though capable to prove that the shipwreck is assuredly the Spanish steamer SAN EDUARDO.

Divers (alphabetically): Dimitris Galon, Antonis Krents, George Vandoros, Nikos Vardakas
Underwater survey: Antonis Krents, Nikos Vardakas
Video: George Vandoros, Nikos Vardakas, Antonis Krents
Photos: Dimitris Galon, George Vandoros, Antonis Krents
Underwater photos: Dimitris Galon
Historical research: Dimitris Galon

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