The Persephone Shipwreck
New York and New Jersey's (Wreck Valley)
Historical and current New York and New Jersey Shipwreck Information and images for scuba
divers and fisherman.
The Persephone was a468 foot long by 63.2 foot wide tanker, owned by
the Panama Transport Company. She was built by Fried. Krupp
Germaniawerft Act. Ges. in Germany and displaced8,426 gross tons.
On May 25, 1942,while en route from Aruba to New York, travelling in
convoy with a cargo of90,000 barrels of fuel oil under the command
of Captain Helge Quistgaard, she was struck in the stern by two
German torpedoes fired from the U-593. The tanker sank stern first,
taking nine of her 37 crew to a watery grave. Captain Quistgaard was
the last to abandon ship. He did so only after gathering all of his
navigational equipment. The Captain, after being picked up by a
Coast Guard vessel, requested and was returned to the wreck's bow
where he recovered 23bags of U.S. mail. Since the depth of water at
this site is relatively shallow, her bow was able to stay above
water even after her stern had become fully embedded in the ocean
A salvage operation separated the Persephone's bow from her
demolished sunken stern and towed it to New York. Almost 20,000
barrels of oil were recovered.
This was not the end of the story. The bow of the Persephone was
eventually towed to Baltimore where it was fitted to the stern of
the Esso tanker, Livingston Roe. The Roe's bow had been severely
damaged by fire, but after some time in the shipyards and anew bow
section from the Persephone, she was able to sail again.
The wreck of the Persephone's stern is now a scattered junk heap
sitting in 55 feet of water, three miles out of Barnegat Inlet. The
wreck is good for
spearfishing black fish and sea bass.
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