Antilla Wreck – Aruba

Underwater Ship Wrecks are fascinating to view, and often encompass equally fascinating stories. The Antilla was another casualty of World War II, when hostilities broke out between Germany and the Netherlands.

Here’s Wikipedia’s take on the events that lead to her 1939 sinking:

 On 9 April Germany invaded Denmark and Norway. This increased the fear that the Netherlands would also be invaded, so on 12 April Dutch authorities in Aruba confined Antilla’s crew to their ship. On 10 May Germany invaded the Netherlands so the Dutch government ordered the seizure of all German ships in the Dutch Antilles. At 0310 hrs on 10 May a section of Dutch Marines in two boats approached Antilla to board her but Schmidt refused to lower the gangway. The Dutch marines were commanded by a Captain who anticipated armed resistance from the German crew. He therefore postponed the boarding to first light, when a machine gun positioned ashore could provide cover.

The German crew used the delay to start scuttling Antilla. One crewman locked himself in the engine room, opened her seacocks and climbed out through the funnel. Other crew set fire to several parts of the ship. At 0500 hrs the Dutch marines boarded the ship and at 0530 the German crew was assembled on the poop deck. The Marines escorted the crew ashore in a lifeboat and handed them into the custody of the Royal Marechaussee.

At 0600 hrs two Netherlands Coastguard vessels, HM Aruba and HM Practico, reached Malmok Bay and found Antilla on fire. Two of Aruba’s crew boarded Antilla, found the engine room and numbers 4 and 5 holds afire, and that it was not possible to reach the seacocks and close them. After the Dutch marines had removed the German crew, Aruba fired two rounds at Antilla from her 37mm gun. By 0650 hrs Antilla was afire from stem to stern and listing 20 degrees to port. Aruba left Malmok Bay at 1130 hrs, by which time Antilla’s list had increased to 30 degrees and she was sinking.