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ESSO International Tankers 1930-1939
Beaconlight - (1931-1942)
See also : SUNK OF TRINIDAD  &  German Records off the Attack on the SS "Beaconlight"

After circumnavigating the world, the SS "Beaconlight", build as "Richconcal", was topedoed and sunk in 1942.
Sistership is the "Beaconoil".

SS BEACONLIGHT ( ex. Richconcal )
Home Port: Panama, R.P.
Company: Panama Transport Co. (Standard Oil of New Jersey)
Master: Urban A. Haughan
Built: Alameda, CA 1920
Gross Tons: 6926
Dimensions: 453' x 56' x 33'
Capacity: 74,722 bbls

The Panamanian flag tanker, SS BEACONLIGHT, was torpedoed by the German U-160 (Georg Lassen) at 0316 ship time on July 16, 1942 while en route from Cape Town (departed June 21) to Trinidad in ballast unescorted. Armament consisted of a 12 pound gun aft and 2 machine guns (.30 cal.) one on each side of the bridge.
On board was a merchant crew of 39 plus 2 British gunners.The majority of the crew were American citizens. One crew member, an A.B., was lost.

A torpedo struck the tanker on the starboard side between #8 and #9 tanks. Position of the attack was 10-59 N./61-07 W. or about 10 miles NW Galera Point, Trinidad. About 5 minutes later a 2nd torpedo struck on the same side in the engine room. The extent of the damage was not known as the ship began to sink immediately. The ship had to be sunk by the Dutch ROODE ZEE, to prevent her being a menace to navigation.

The crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats. They were picked up about 0900 by a small passenger vessel, the SS TRINIDAD, and landed at Port of Spain around 1700.

The U-160 (v. Pommer-Esche) was sunk south of the Azores (33-54 N./27-13 W.) by aircraft from the USS SANTEE (CVE- 29) on July 14, 1943. There were no survivors.

Note from Mike Lewis :
My father was on the SS Beaconlight when she was torpedoed by U160, according to the records the other Royal Navy gunner was called Walker, it was infact Reginald Waller. My father and Reg were picked up and taken to Trini-dad. They both boarded the S S Algonquin and taken to Tampa.
They both joined the SS Parkhaven in New York.

The Miramar Ship Index for "RICHCONCAL"
IDNo:
2220143
Year:
1920
Name:
RICHCONCAL
Keel:
Type:
Tanker
Launch Date:
23.12.1919
Flag:
USA
Date of completion:
06.1920

DWT:
10700
Yard No:
5266
Length overall:
Ship Design:
LPP:
132.6
Country of build:
USA
Beam:
17.1
Builder:
Bethlehem
Material of build:
Location of yard:
Alameda
Number of screws/Mchy/Speed(kn):
1T-11

Subsequent History:
1923 BEACONLIGHT

Disposal Data:
Torpedoed and sunk by U 160, 10.59 N / 61.05 W 16.07.1942 ( 1dead )

History :
ON
LR/IMO
ID
Year
Name
Tons
Change
Main Owner
220143
2220143
1920
RICHCONCAL
6954
U.S. Govt.
220143
2220143
1920
BEACONLIGHT
7072
1923
Beacon Oil Co.

Additional Info by Starke & Schell Registers :
1920 - RICHCONCAL, USA  1T (aft)     (11)
7,072  GRT for U. S. Shipping Board, San Francisco     1047    435.0 x 56.0
Tanker built by Bethlehem SB. Corp., Alameda, Calif.    (6)     #1469   220143
1923 - BEACONLIGHT   Beacon Oil Co., Inc., Boston
1928 - National Bank of Commerce in New York (Trustee), Inc., Boston  [Beacon Transport Co.]
1931 - Standard Shipping Co., Inc., Wilmington, Del.
1935 - Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, Wilmington, Del.
1940 - Panama Transport Co., Panama,  PA
Torpedoed and sunk by U 160, 16 July 1942, in 10.59N-61.05W, voyage Table Bay - Trinidad, in ballast.

Note from Mike Lewis :
My father was on the S S Beaconlight when she was torpedoed by U160, according to the records the other Royal Navy gunner was called Walker,
it was infact Reginald Waller. My father and Reg were picked up and taken to Trinidad.They both boarded the S S Algonquin and taken to Tampa.
They both joined the SS Parkhaven in New York.

Additional information from Uboat.net :

Name: Beaconlight
Type: Steam tanker
Tonnage: 6.926 tons
Completed: 1920 - Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, Alameda CA
Owner: Panama Transport Co (Standard Oil Co), Panama
Homeport: Panama
Date of attack: 16 Jul, 1942
Nationality: Panaman
Fate: Sunk by U-160 (Georg Lassen)
Position: 10.59N, 61.05W - Grid ED 9946
- See location on a map -
Complement: 41 (1 dead and 40 survivors).
Convoy: -
Route: Capetown (21 Jun) - Trinidad
Cargo: Ballast
History: Built as Richconcal, 1923 renamed Beaconlight for Standard Oil Co of New Jersey, New York, 1940 registered
under Panamanian flag
Notes on loss:
At 09.34 hours on 16 Jul, 1942, the unescorted Beaconlight (Master Urban A. Haughan) was struck by one torpedo from U-160 on the
starboard side between # 8 and # 9 tanks and five minutes later by a second torpedo on the same side in the engine room. The ship began
to sink inmmediately about ten miles northwest Galera Point, Trinidad. One crewman was lost. 38 crewmen and two British gunners (the
ship was armed with one 12 pdr aft and two .30cal machine guns on each side of the bridge) abandoned ship in three lifeboats. They were
picked up six hours later by the small steam passenger ship Trinidad and landed at Port of Spain the same day.
The drifting wreck had to be sunk by the Dutch tug Roode Zee in position 10°58N/61°10W, to prevent her being a menace to navigation.
U-160 misidentified the tanker as the Gallia.