SS Pedrinhas sunk by U-203/Mutzelburg 26 June 1942 off Bahamas


            The steam ship Pedrinhas was launched on the 17th of January 1935 at Lithgows, Port Glasgow. At 3,660 GRT she was 350.7 feet long and 50.2 feet wide. Here triple-expansion engine propelled her at nine knots. Here original owners were the Cia de Cabotagem de Pernambuco of Pernambuo, Brazil, then she was sold to the Companhia de Carbonifera of the same port. ( She was sunk on the 26th of June, 1942 north of the Virgin Islands at 23.7N/62.6W by U-203 under Rolf Mutzelburg. At the time of her loss she was en route between load ports Santos and Pernambuco Brazil with a general cargo of cotton and castor beans for New York. She was roughly 300 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Rico. Her master was Captain Ernesto Mamede Vidal and she had a crew of 44 civilian and four military personnel.
The attack began at 23:17 hours German time with one torpedo and continued with 22 rounds of the deck gun. Mutzelburg justified the attack on a neutral ship by observing that the ship carried a 120 millimeter deck gun aft (  All forty eight officers and crew survived – according to Wikipedia (Portugal edition), there were four armed guard and 44 crew, and they were adrift in lifeboats for 84 hours. American patrol vessels then discovered and rescued them, taking the crew to San Juan, Puerto Rico on the 30th of June. ( Pedrinhas_(navio) / Sander, Roberto, Brazil in the sight of Hitler: the story of the sinking of Brazilian ships by the Nazis, p.165, Objectiva, Rio de Janiero, 2007)

The history of the US Navy tug Mankato is available at She received the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.