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SS Antilla | Antilla Cargo Ship | Antilla Shipwreck | Aruba Snorkelings
Antilla SS was a German cargo steamer which carried 4,363 tons of goods. Antilla ship was built by Deutsche Werft for a German firm named Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Action Gesellschaft (HAPAG). SS Antilla was officially launched on the 21st of March 1939 in Hamburg, when it left for its first trip to the Caribbean.
In World War II the Antilla is the shipwreck off the coast of Aruba that is a popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination. On May 10 1940, when Germany invaded the Netherlands, the relationship between the two nations was obviously strained. As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this was extended to Aruba Islands. At that time the SS Antilla was a cargo ship that had been built for trade purposes between Germany and the Caribbean.
After the invasion of Germany in the Netherlands, the ship was surrounded by the Dutch Marines and was asked to surrender. The captain asked the time and Dutch Marines gave a 24 hour time to surrender. The captain Ferdinand Schmidt did not want see her turned over to the enemy and decided to scuttle the ship. He heated up the boilers and opened the seacock. When the cold sea water hit the hot boilers, they exploded; ripping the ship in half and it sank in 8 minutes. The Antilla is one of the Caribbean’s largest shipwrecks.
Antilla- a Well-known Dive site:
Today, the Antilla is one of the most well-known wreck dive sites in the area, with divers from all over the world visiting Aruba for the chance to dive and explore this historic Wreck. It is also home for many fishes like angelfish, bluehead wrasses, and yellowtail Snappers. You’ll also find corals, gorgonians, anemones, sponges, and more. But unfortunately in the last few years the Antilla has begun to collapse. The ship used to be open to special wreck penetration scuba diving but now after the hull has been weakened by storms it is collapsing on a daily basis. This means it is unsafe to go inside the wreck.
Other Wreck Dives In Aruba:
1. Jane Sea Wreck:
The cargo ship was launched on December 30, 1959, from Westerbroek SW shipyard in Westerbroek in the North of Holland and was named Blackthorn. The ship was renamed Jane Sea on 1980. In the last days Jane Sea was owned by Venezuela Company. This is operated for transporting cement between Venezuela and Aruba. One day it also transported some other powder known as cocaine. Then ship was taken by authorities. When the owners did not recover the ship local dive operators took the initiative to make the vessel easily accessible for divers and scuttled it in September 1988 turning it into one of the most spectacular wrecks in Aruba.
2. Pedernales Wreck:
Pedernales was built in 1938 in Monfalcone, Italy. Lago Oil and Transport Company was the owner of this ship. Pedernales operated as a lake tanker, sailing from Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela.
Pedernales also has the history that dates back to world war II. This ship oil tanker was sunk by a German submarine. Even after 55 years this ship is still recognizable. The cabins with all the furnishings, including wash basins and heads, are still identifiable. The interior piping and pump systems are also exposed.
3. Debbie II Wreck:
This ship was launched on 15 June 1961 by a shipbuilder J. Bolson and amp; Son at Hamworthy. Owner of this ship was Shell Co. of Bahamas Ltd., Nassau had named it Coralshell. Later the Ship was sold by Shell N.A. Willemstad and was renamed Debbie II. This ship doesn't have rich history. In 1992 the fuel barge was purposely sunk in order to create an artificial reef.