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SHIPS SUNK BRAZIL - SHIPS

4)ANIBAL BENEVOLO





Built: 1905


Tonnage: 1,905 tons


Cargo: General cargo


Sunk 16 Aug 42 by U-507 on pos. 11º41"S 37º21"W


150 Dead


4 Survivors


In the same area where U-507 attacked, the third of Brazilian Lloyd's, 1905 ton, Anibal Benevolo , was sunk. She was a German built liner, 1905. The ship had suspended from Salvador, Bahia, one hour after her predecessor, Araraquara, and sailing the same doomed route she destined Aracaju, state of Sergipe, the first port of call.  Precisely at 04:15 am, when the first lights of the morning lit the skyline, 16 hours  past the sinking of Araraquara, 15 miles off the Lighthouse on the mouth of River Real, she was hit astern  under third class cabins.
Upon the initial impact, the first pilot pulled the alarm bell. At that moment all 71 passengers were still in their cabins, and locked up they found their horrifying death, with no previous warnings. One second explosion, hit the engine room. Everyone realized the ship was plunging so swiftly that no time left for panic.
After that nothing else could be seen on the surface but little debris. Even the presence of any aggressor could not be noticed nearby.  In the desperation of the first moments, the first mate wrote in his diary  the estimated coordinates of the disaster Only a handful men , desperately clang to flotsam, got ashore south of Estancia lighthouse.

Later the first survivor clarified matters, declaring when in the moment of the sinking, the ship was abeam of  the city of Aracaju, capital of the state of Sergipe, whose lights could be seen against the sky. Ship’s master was Henrique Mascarenhas and carried 154 people aboard, including 83 passengers. Only 4 managed to survive. All crewmen, including his master. 2 of them got ashore at the vicinities of Real river lighthouse, when already sunset.
The remaining two, could only reach land in that following day, in appalling physical conditions.The German submarine onslaught against these 3 steamers, sailing independently, was mercilessly executed by one single U-boat, U 507, in mere 8 hour interval within a radius of 30 miles.
Following orders from his headquarters, Korvettenkapitan Harro Schacht was assigned that promising new area from where, submerged, shadowing by day and attacking by night he caught easy preys, but outraged a nation, bringing one more powerful enemy with its continental territory and enormous natural resources to fight against Axis.
The master of one Brazilian sunken ship stated before a naval commission, that his boat was scheduled to leave Salvador at 06:00 PM on 14 Aug. However due to a suspected malfunction on the harbor potable water supply system, the 3 ships suspended at short interval. Merchants Baependy, Araraquara and  Anibal Benevolo, were sunk in view of each other. This fact aroused suspicions that so called fifth column had an active role in the tragedy in collecting information on first port of call, nature of cargo, and relayed these data to the submarines yet in the vicinities.
Soon the  government took notice and population was informed about the first 3 disasters off our shores and the appalling losses of 500 people, amidst so many difficulties in obtaining fresh and accurate details, once the sinkings had occurred in a distant unpopulated region with no infrastructure in radio communications, medical facilities and transportation, two other catastrophes, this time a little far southern from the first three, they came as a second shock to make more acute the national mourning

 

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