PRESS RELEASE IN ARUBA
SS ORANJESTAD’S PROPELLER AWAITS ON HER
FINAL DESTINATION IN THE SEROE COLORADO
On April 18th this year, after 67 years, a dive team consisting of: Percy Sweetnam, Dick de Bruin, Andre Loonstra, Rigo Hoencamp, and Paulus Martijn, salvaged the propeller of the lake tanker SS Oranjestad. When the salvage project was completed several steps were taken for the realization of a WWII monument. This SS Oranjestad lies in front of the refinery in a depth of 225 feet/69 meters.
The propeller becomes part of a WWII monument in the Seroe Colorado. The monument will be dedicated to those who lost their lives during WWII while in Aruba working for and defending the refinery and the island that supplied a large portion of the fuel used by the Allies. The historical torpedo attacks on the Aruban coast were done by a German submarine, U-156, on the early morning of February 16, 1942. The torpedoed tanker, SS Oranjestad was the first tanker to be sunk in Aruba and the entire western hemisphere, where 15 of her crew members lost their lives that early morning.
Recently, the propeller was professionally cleaned by a well-known cleaning company Mourik Caribbean N.V. in San Nicolas. With the newest techniques, they removed the sticking corals. The original bronze color came up and shined directly under the Aruban sun.
Aruban historian, Dufi Kock, and the dive team started the SS Oranjestad Memorial Committee and opened a bank account at the Caribbean Mercantile – Noord branch, where interested people can give donations for the WWII monument.
The SS Oranjestad Memorial Committee has contacted the office of the Minister of Culture, Mr. Ramon Lee to discuss possible sites that the government could make available for the monument. It is hoped that the decision of the site can be made as soon as possible by Minister Ramon Lee in order to be in time for the groundbreaking ceremony by June 23, during the Lago Aruba Reunion of the ex-Lago people, many of whom were there during the attacks. Approximately 200 Lagoites with their families will be in Aruba for this reunion and we expect many more if we can provide positive confirmation of the groundbreaking ceremony during the reunion.
Should you wish to make a donation, please do so at the Caribbean Mercantile Bank – Noord branch at Palm Beach 4-B, the SS Oranjestad Memorial Committee, bank account number 60373310. If you have any questions, please call 584-1201/592-4917/563-9079. Thank you for your generosity.
For more information on this project, go to www.lago-colony.com, under the link SS Oranjestad or World War II, where you will find the Aruba WWII history, including information on the salvaging of the propeller. You will also find three short films on You Tube, part I, II, & III.
SS Oranjestad Memorial Committee