I have added this new page.  If you have a question, send it to me and I will post it on this page and hope that someone out in syberspace has the answer.  I you do have the answer or can add some little information send me an email;



At 0140, 07 March, 1944, Valera, one of Lago’s lake tankers, was torpedoed and split in half by a German submarine (U-518), off Barranquilla, Columbia. Her position was approximately 11° 30’ N, 76° 27’ W – Grid EC 7470. Valera was a 3401 gross ton tanker built by Walter Butler Shipbuilders Inc., Duluth, MN in 1943 and was owned by Lago Petroleum Co., Panama, at the time of the sinking. 355’ in length, with a 60’ beam, Valera had a draft of 15’ ¾” and a depth of 17’ 6”. The ship, with a full load of Navy fuel oil, was enroute Cristobal, Panama from Aruba. The ship’s Mate (Capt. Russell) was killed, but the remaining 34 survived. My father, Captain Henry John Turner, sailing as First Mate, spent several days with other survivors, drifting on a raft before being rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel and taken to Panama where he spent a month in recovery at Margarita Hospital.

I found an article written in the Saba Herald related by a Saban, Mr. Peter Every, who was also on board Valera. According to the article, there were 5 survivors on the raft, including my father, the Second Mate, the Chief Steward, a Norwegian sailor and Peter Every. The article, which also mentions another Saban, a Quartermaster named Walter Woods, can be found at

I believe the article to be somewhat incorrect in that it reports the voyage was in mid-April 1943. This can’t be correct since official reports on Valera’s sinking show March of 1944. Also, a letter held by my sister, Jane Turner Harding, sent from Panama by my father to my mother was dated 03/23/1944 and postmarked 04/10/1944. The remainder of Peter Every’s account is very similar to what I remember my father telling me when I was a kid.

I would like to get a crew/officer list of those sailors on board Valera during this last voyage, ship photos, etc. If anyone has any information or could point me in the right direction I would be very grateful.

Incidentally, U-518, commanded by Hans-Werner Offermann, was sunk on April 22, 1945 by USS CARTER (DE-112) and USS NEAL A SCOTT (DE-769). GO NAVY! There were no survivors.
John S. Turner
Captain, USNR


My wife and her uncles have been telling me stories about Aruba for a long time, particularly about what life was like during the 50's and 60's.

Driving through the Lago Colony, you sense the vibe which hangs there. It is like time stood still in a way....but it very much impressed me. It was unlike anything I had ever see.

Anyway, to make a long story short we are thinking of buying a second home.

Anyway, on the way back to Holland yesterday I gave it some thought, what it would be like (also for our family) to own a house on Aruba, and particularly in the area of the Lago Colony because of it's unique location and history.

What can you tell me about the old Lago houses?  Are they for sale to be fixed up?  Are there any for sale at the present time?  What kind of a price are we looking at?