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Papoose

Fast Facts

Average Rating: 4.5
Average Depth: 90 ft.
Max Depth: 120 ft.
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    The Papoose was launched in 1927 by the Petroleum Navigation Company. The tanker transported gasoline between Texas and New York until pressed into military service during World War II. On the night of March 18, 1942, the Papoose was returning to Corpus Christi, Texas after delivering crude oil to Rhode Island. The ship hugged the coastline, fully blacked-out, and rounded Diamond Shoals at eleven knots. Certainly the entire crew was tense. That month had been the worst month for ships lost to German submarines. The log of Kapitanleutnant Johann Mohr, commander of U-124, records nine attacks in one week. The Papoose and the W.E. Hutton were both torpedoed by U-124 and sunk on the night of March 18.

    At approximately 10:30 pm, a torpedo struck aft on the port side, damaging a fuel tank, interior bulkheads, and flooding the engine rooms with oil and water. Two crewmen were drowned. The Captain gave the order to abandon ship and the remaining 34 crewmen were able to launch two life boats and begin rowing toward shore. As they pulled away from the Papoose, a second torpedo hit her starboard side and there was a huge explosion. At 7:30 the next morning, the lifeboats were spotted and the crew was rescued by the U.S. destroyer Stringham.

    After the crew lost sight of the Papoose, the ship capsized and sank to the bottom at about 120 feet. Today the ship rests upside down on the bottom with the hull rising 30 feet in profile. There are several spots where the experienced wreck diver may penetrate the hull. The remains of the bridge can be seen as a debris field on the port side. The rudder is reportedly still visible.

    The Papoose lies 30 miles southeast of Morehead City. Expect a two-hour boat ride to the site. Sand Tiger sharks sometimes frequent the wreck in large numbers and are not dangerous. Many divers find their teeth along the hull. Schools of tiny bait fish, some tropicals, and larger game fish inhabit the area. The Papoose is popular with photographers.

    Waypoint: PAPOOS Latitude Longitude
    Degrees 34.1438833333333 -76.6525666666667
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