United Fruit Historical Soceity Discussion Board

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SS San Pablo and the Great White Fleet

Hello all,

My name is Stewart Hood. I am a graduate student at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Fl. studying historic archaeology, with a focus on maritime archaeology. I am in my second year of graduate school and am currently beginning work on my thesis topic for graduation. For my thesis topic I have selected a vessel known as the SS San Pablo, known locally as the Russian Freighter. The vessel presently lies a few miles off the coast of Pensacola resting at about 85 feet. At present I have only done some basic research, and written a few short papers on the vessel which were used in a several classes last semester. I am currently looking for any additional information that my help me in my thesis completion. I know that the vessel was constructed by Workman and Clark and began operation for United Fruit in 1915. She seems to have operated up and down the east coast making runs to Central America and the Caribbean until here sinking in 1942. According to news reports she was sunk while docked at Puerto Limon on the night of July 2/3 1942 at the hands of a German U-Boat. However, I have heard other rumors that the vessel was intentionally sunk by the United States herself with the intent of bringing Costa Rica into the war. Some time after the sinking, there are varied reports as to exactly how long, the vessel was raised and made her way to Tampa and eventually Pensacola, where she was sunk as a target vessel for remote controlled missile boats. These "missile boats" were being tested by the United States Government as part of a secret project to infiltrate enemy harbors. I do have a fair bit of information as to the vessels service life, but less regarding the vessels initial sinking. Any information on the vessel itself would be very helpful. I am also more than happy to e-mail copies of the papers I have written if they can be of any assistance.

Thanks you,

Stewart Hood

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