SS Emidio

SS Emidio was a 6,912-ton tanker of the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company (later Mobil Oil), which became the first casualty of the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine force action on California's Pacific Coast. It was one of four attacks on shipping, the others being Samoa, Larry Doheny, and Montebello,[1] all attacked off the coast of California before Christmas.[2] Emidio was sailing in ballast from Seattle, Washington en route to San Pedro, California. The Japanese submarine I-17 found Emidio off Cape Mendocino on the early afternoon of 20 December 1941, immediately attacking with its 14 cm deck gun. Realizing that the situation was futile, Captain Farrow raised a white flag and gave the order to abandon ship. Ignoring the surrender, I-17 continued firing from its deck gun, blasting three crew members who were lowering a lifeboat overboard.[3] Four crew members remained on board: a radio operator and three engineers. I-17 fired a torpedo which struck the engine room[4] and killed two of the engineers and injured the third.[5] In total I-17 hit the tanker with five shells from its 14 cm deck gun and one torpedo[6][7] killing five crew members.[8] A Catalina flying boat of 44 Patrol Squadron attacked I-17 with depth charges, but the submarine dove and escaped.[9] The United States Coast Guard cutter Shawnee rescued the remaining 31 survivors who had rowed 16 hours to Humboldt Bay.[10][11][12][13] The abandoned tanker drifted north and broke up on the rocks off Crescent City. The bow drifted into the harbor, where it lay until scrapped in 1959.[14] The remains of the hull are still in the harbor, near a commemorative plaque. The site has been declared a California Historical Landmark #497.[15][16]

The S.S. Emidio historical marker
  • Hammac (1921-1923)
  • Emidio (1923-1941)
  • United States Government (1921-1923)
  • General Petroleum Corp, New York (1923-1926)
  • Standard Transportation Company Inc, New York (1926-1931)
  • Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, New York (1931-1941)
Builder: Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Alameda, California
Yard number: 5274
Launched: 25 May 1921
Completed: July 1921
Fate: Abandoned off Cape Mendocino, 20 December 1941, broke up
Reference no.497

See also


  1. "Attacks on California". World War II & California. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  2. Kupfer, Charles (2012-04-05). Indomitable Will: Turning Defeat into Victory from Pearl Harbor to Midway. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9781441186638.
  3. Malkin, Michelle (2013-01-29). In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror. Regnery Publishing. ISBN 9781621570981.
  4. Roland, Alex; Bolster, W. Jeffrey; Keyssar, Alexander (2008). The Way of the Ship: America's Maritime History Reenvisoned, 1600-2000. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470136003.
  5. Felton, Mark (2006-12-07). The Fujita Plan. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781844154807.
  6. "West Coast War Zone - July '98 World War II Feature | HistoryNet". Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  7. Felton, Mark (2006-12-07). The Fujita Plan. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781844154807.
  8. "70 years since Emidio's sinking". The Del Norte Triplicate. Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  9. "The Attack on the SS Emidio". California and the Second World War. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  10. Panic on the Pacific: How America Prepared for the West Coast Invasion, By Bill Yenne
  11. Felton, Mark (2006-12-07). The Fujita Plan. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781844154807.
  12. "German Records off the Attack on the SS "Emidio"". Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  13. "West Coast War Zone - July '98 World War II Feature | HistoryNet". Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  14. "Pacific Wrecks". Retrieved 2017-05-16.
  15. "SS Emidio". Office of Historic Preservation, California State Parks. Retrieved 2012-10-06.
  16. Webber, Ebbert "Bert" (1975). Retaliation: Japanese Attacks and Allied Countermeasures on the Pacific Coast in World War II. Oregon State University Press. ISBN 0-87071-076-1.

Other sources

  • "Del Norte". California Historical Landmarks. Office of Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2005-08-29.
  • "The Attack on the SS Emidio". California and the Second World War. The California State Military Museum. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  • "Wreck of the SS Emidio". USA - California - Crescent City. Wikimapia. Retrieved 16 March 2012.

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