Oil tankers

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
takata_1940
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Re: Oil tankers

Postby takata_1940 » 30 May 2009 14:37

Bronsky wrote:Ok, thanks for the explanation. In terms of tanker tonnage, part of the problem was how in wartime supply was struggling to keep up with demand.

Looking at UK imports of petroleum products gives the following:
1940: 11,381,000 tons
1941: 13,051,000 tons
1942: 10,232,000 tons
1943: 14,828,000 tons
1944: 20,176,000 tons

The 1944 surge was largely caused by increased avgas imports: 9.4 million tons against 5.3 the previous year. Yet, British fuel stockpiles were reaching dangerously low levels during the last winter, the combination of a full-tilt strategic bombing campaign and an active land front with motorized armies was proving too much for even the vastly expanded tanker fleet in the priority theater. The average tanker was both larger and faster than it had been when the war began, too.


Hello Bronsky,

You are right about the main problem as being to keep up with demand but, during wartime, the demand is also almost unlimited and it will be forcibly constrained by the means available and the level of priority allocated to each imported kind of goods (POL being of course at the top). As your table is showing, the 22 % drop in 1942 of British oil importations doesn't mean that the 1942 demand was only 78 % of 1941. It is certainly the result of the U-boat campaign, possibly the shortage of tanker space, the diverted ressources for the Pacific theater that all together caused this drop in British importations without regard for the actual US-British needs in Europe. Same for the increases of 1943 and 1944 which would certainly reflect the large increase of the tanker fleet with the arrival into service of the bulk of the US war emergency shipbuilding programs.

Another point would be to consider also what was the level of crude oil importation needed to supply the British refineries beside the importations of refined oil products (and the breakdown by product) as tankers were used to carry both crude and refined products but your table is only showing the later, the aviation gas being certainly the most needed as I'm not sure that the British refineries were converted to large scale cracking process needed to get high octane aviation fuels.

At this point, the question of wastage due to enemy action, shortage of tankers (including their speed, specialized manpower or storage space availabe) and the convoy system could also be considered more closely.

S~
Olivier

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Jon G. » 30 May 2009 22:29

Hi Olivier,

I am sure Bronsky can answer you more fully, I just have a brief comment to make:

takata_1940 wrote:
Bronsky wrote:...UK imports of petroleum products gives the following:
1940: 11,381,000 tons
1941: 13,051,000 tons
1942: 10,232,000 tons
1943: 14,828,000 tons
1944: 20,176,000 tons...

...
As your table is showing, the 22 % drop in 1942 of British oil importations doesn't mean that the 1942 demand was only 78 % of 1941. It is certainly the result of the U-boat campaign, possibly the shortage of tanker space, the diverted ressources for the Pacific theater that all together caused this drop in British importations without regard for the actual US-British needs in Europe.


That could be - Allied shipping losses were certainly heavier in 1942 than they were in 1941. On the other hand, the reduced petroleum imports in 1942 could, conceivably, also reflect different priorities, rather than just increased losses. Other things were taking up UK-destined shipping space in 1942 - first and foremost the BOLERO program build-up of US forces in Britain, Arctic convoys and, at the end of the year, also Operation Torch. Although admittedly that can only address how shipping space in general was prioritized as a whole, less so how tanker space was utilized.

...Another point would be to consider also what was the level of crude oil importation needed to supply the British refineries beside the importations of refined oil products (and the breakdown by product) as tankers were used to carry both crude and refined products but your table is only showing the later...


As far as I know, British crude imports were very small - precisely because the need to conserve tanker space made it more economical (from a shipping space management point of view) to import avgas and other already refined products, rather than crude petroleum which would need refining in the UK.

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby takata_1940 » 31 May 2009 18:39

Hi Jon & all,
Jon G. wrote:...
That could be - Allied shipping losses were certainly heavier in 1942 than they were in 1941. On the other hand, the reduced petroleum imports in 1942 could, conceivably, also reflect different priorities, rather than just increased losses. Other things were taking up UK-destined shipping space in 1942 - first and foremost the BOLERO program build-up of US forces in Britain, Arctic convoys and, at the end of the year, also Operation Torch. Although admittedly that can only address how shipping space in general was prioritized as a whole, less so how tanker space was utilized.

Well, this was more or less my point to say that different priorities & other factors like shipping space wastage may reflect the current oil importation variations to UK than effective demand for any kind of oil products. The other questions are how such a table was computed: is the total reflecting the global British importations? or only importations to UK (geographically)? are the products destined to US forces based in UK included in this figure? etc. Then tankers could hardly be used for shipping something else than oil products and variations in oil delivered are reflecting closer than for any other type how and where their space was effectively used.
Jon G. wrote:
...Another point would be to consider also what was the level of crude oil importation needed to supply the British refineries beside the importations of refined oil products (and the breakdown by product) as tankers were used to carry both crude and refined products but your table is only showing the later...

As far as I know, British crude imports were very small - precisely because the need to conserve tanker space made it more economical (from a shipping space management point of view) to import avgas and other already refined products, rather than crude petroleum which would need refining in the UK.

Right, this make perfectly sense considering only the management of the shipping space and it will reflect a shortage of tanker space. But it is not so effective considering that the UK refineries would be stopped without any crude oil importation. One possibility may be also that the British possessed large stocks of crude oil already stored in UK to fuel the refineries for a long time and that full priority was given to high octane avgas (which needed special cracking process) over other products more easily refined. Moreover, I'm not sure that the pre-war capacity of the refineries controlled by the allies could cope so easily with such an increase of oil consumption during the war without using the UK facilities output.

S~
Olivier

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Jon G. » 01 Jun 2009 01:14

Hi again Olivier,

takata_1940 wrote:... The other questions are how such a table was computed: is the total reflecting the global British importations? or only importations to UK (geographically)?


Hopefully Bronsky will clarify, but I've assumed throughout that the numbers he posted represent mainland UK imports only.

are the products destined to US forces based in UK included in this figure?


That would be interesting to know.

etc. Then tankers could hardly be used for shipping something else than oil products and variations in oil delivered are reflecting closer than for any other type how and where their space was effectively used.


True, they couldn't. However, convoy and port space would be other limiting factors - i.e. there could have been less tanker space allotted in Britain-bound convoys in 1942 than in 1941. Also, presumably, some tankers which used to sail on UK-Canada routes may have been re-routed to the Caribbean-Halifax oil convoy routes which the RCN began operating in 1942. That might be part explanation of the 1942 drop in oil imports; as Canada's war industry was increasing output, it also needed more oil.

...
Jon G. wrote:As far as I know, British crude imports were very small - precisely because the need to conserve tanker space made it more economical (from a shipping space management point of view) to import avgas and other already refined products, rather than crude petroleum which would need refining in the UK.

Right, this make perfectly sense considering only the management of the shipping space and it will reflect a shortage of tanker space. But it is not so effective considering that the UK refineries would be stopped without any crude oil importation.


Yes, it is a tradeoff that comes at a price. One drawback would be that other (= US and Canadian) refineries would have more work on their hands refining all the oil which the British used to refine themselves; another would be the costlier loss of a tanker loaded with refined petroleum products, and perhaps also such things as increased fire hazard, more difficulty unloading volatile avgas and so on.

One possibility may be also that the British possessed large stocks of crude oil already stored in UK to fuel the refineries for a long time and that full priority was given to high octane avgas (which needed special cracking process) over other products more easily refined.


Yes, but some petroleum products were refined and used without ever entering the UK. For example, the Haïfa refinery came online in 1941 IIRC, turning out petroleum products for the war effort in the Middle East, and - again IIRC - the BP refinery at Abadan produced avgas from 1941 onwards - not just to cover RAF & allied air forces' needs; some of this avgas was passed on to the Russians.

Also, there was an attempt to ship fuel directly from Aruba to Gibraltar post-Torch, but that was not a success.

Moreover, I'm not sure that the pre-war capacity of the refineries controlled by the allies could cope so easily with such an increase of oil consumption during the war without using the UK facilities output.


There must have been some difficulty catching up on refinery capacity outside of the UK, though I don't know any details off-hand about that. In occupied Europe the picture was reversed: lots of refinery space and very little oil to refine.

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Bronsky » 01 Jun 2009 09:39

Salut Olivier,

Some clarifications, bearing in mind that I've slept maybe 6 hours over the 3-day week-end so I hope they actually do clarify rather than obscure the point! 8O

takata_1940 wrote:You are right about the main problem as being to keep up with demand but, during wartime, the demand is also almost unlimited and it will be forcibly constrained by the means available and the level of priority allocated to each imported kind of goods (POL being of course at the top).


That was my point. In the example I gave, the 1944 UK received twice as much fuel as Germany had produced from all sources in its peak year (1943), plus another million tons of domestic production. This large amount doesn't include oil delivered directly to France, or the oil supply to the MTO, let alone the Far East and Pacific theaters. That generous supply, both by world and by Allied standards, proved barely sufficient, however.

takata_1940 wrote: As your table is showing, the 22 % drop in 1942 of British oil importations doesn't mean that the 1942 demand was only 78 % of 1941.


Indeed, it doesn't. Deliveries into consumption of petroleum products went from 12,3 to 12.6 million tons between 1941 and 1942. The Allies allowed UK reserves to drop, the result of a general shipping shortage - large tanker losses off the US Coast didn't help any, here - combined with increasing commitments in the Middle East and Asia. As a result, stocks were low by early 1943, so the planners hit the panic button with the result being the 1943 surge in imports.

takata_1940 wrote:Another point would be to consider also what was the level of crude oil importation needed to supply the British refineries beside the importations of refined oil products (and the breakdown by product) as tankers were used to carry both crude and refined products but your table is only showing the later, the aviation gas being certainly the most needed as I'm not sure that the British refineries were converted to large scale cracking process needed to get high octane aviation fuels.


The figures I posted were for imports of all petroleum products (I believe that part was clear) to the United Kingdom (that part wasn't). So, just to be absolutely clear: oil shipped to the UK but sunk en route isn't part of that total, but oil that reached the UK and was consumed by non-British organizations is, e.g. in 1944, USAAF use amounted to almost half of the total avgas consumtion. Neither is oil delivered outside of the British Isles even if it was for the use or British forces.

The figures I gave were total i.e. aviation, motor, industrial and white spirit, Kerosine, Diesel, Fuel oil, Lubricating oils, plus crude and process oils.

Regarding crude oil imports and refining capacity, Jon was right. Crude oil imports were but a small proportion of the total, a lot of the oil was being refined closer to the production sites. Crude and process oil imports was 1.5 million tons in 1940, down to 0.8 Mt in 1942 and 43 at the height of the tanker shortage, and went back to 1.4 Mt in 1945 (full year, not just to the armistice).

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Jon G. » 02 Jun 2009 18:18

To add some more data to this thread, here are two tables. First one is an inventory of the world tanker fleet by year, listing ships over 2,000 registered with Lloyd's as of Jan 1 each year. Note that the below table manifestly does not give us the full picture of how many tankers a given country had on hand - fluctuations inside a year (eg. 1942) aren't accounted for with an annual list, eg. some Italian tankers were impounded when Italy entered the war and were thus of no use to the Italian war effort, and as noted, the list does not take small tankers into account.

Code: Select all

  World Tanker Fleet 1940-1944, 2,000+ GRT ships only, registered as of January 1st.

              1940             1941             1942             1943             1944
        Number    Tons   Number    Tons   Number    Tons    Number    Tons    Number    Tons

Japan     57    574,827    59    532,947    61    544,860    62    548,787    59    503,753
Germany   33    262,981    38    326,485    40    353,276    48    414,212    55    461,742
Italy     81    432,491    80    429,094    45    242,353    34    171,383    30    171,383*
US       383  2,824,160   379  2,824,128   389  2,931,193   366  2,901,748   556  4,784,954
UK       450  3,234,852   417  2,975,688   411  2,930,844   355  2,534,899   353  2,521,751
Norway   262  2,073,771   255  2,055,254   231  1,882,687   186  1,523,062   166  1,370,174
NL       107    544,462   101    514,512    97    482,956    80    389,442    77    374,090
Panama    64    555,734    71    588,323    77    630,426    72    551,694    76    539,783
France    56    385,117    46    328,980    43    318,497    16    305,158    29    209,430
USSR      17    113,050    17    113,050    16    106,493    16    106,126    24    154,563
Sweden    21    183,206    24    205,187    28    244,061    32    282,411    32    279,528
Others   106    555,522   102    517,100   112    575,127    96    500,826    99    518,409

* looks like a typo

There was not room for the Jan 1st and Sept 1 1945 tanker fleets in my transcribed table.


The next list is a bit more dodgy. It's a list of world refining capacity as of Dec 1 1940. Some of the numbers look a little suspicious to me - why is eg. Austria included with its own entry, but Romania is not listed? Japan is alas not on the list, and finally, I suspect that refinery capacity would fluctuate more from year to year than the size of a given country's tanker fleet would. Also, note that the total comes out as 73% only.

Code: Select all

        World Refining Capacity, Dec. 1940

Axis/Axis-controlled        bbl/day      % world total

Austria                   10,000             0.1
Denmark                   12,220             0.2
France                   151,600             2.0
Germany                   68,800             0.9
Italy                     57,300             0.7
Netherlands               15,000             0.2
Norway                     1,200              -

Allied

Canada                   221,900             2.9
India                     37,000             0.5
Middle East              426,500             5.5
UK                       144,100             3.0
West Indies              588,500             1.9

Neutral

Latin America            321,900             3.2
US                     4,461,100            58.1
USSR                     899,700            11.7


Both tables transcribed from Robert Goralski & Russell W. Freeburg Oil & War. How the Deadly Struggle for Fuel in WWII Meant Victory or Defeat, pp338 and 340-341

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby cstunts » 02 Jun 2009 19:01

The second chart is "dodgy" to say the least. Was Japan at war in December 1940? (Her refining capacity was not large in any event, was it?) Her synthetic program miniscule.

And what about the NEI, Burma, British Borneo? Maybe I'm missing something here, though.

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Jon G. » 04 Jun 2009 02:51

Super dodgy to say the least. One thing is that we will have to live with the omission of Japan, Romania and several other important countries, it's much worse that not even the rudimentary percentages come out right. I've caught Goralski & Freeburg in some really bad maths before - this could be another case of that, or, far more likely, it could be a case of me forgetting to re-set the dial from 'extra stupid' before I transcribed the table.

I'll have to go over it once I am back with my books.

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby takata_1940 » 06 Jun 2009 00:40

Jon G. wrote:Super dodgy to say the least. One thing is that we will have to live with the omission of Japan, Romania and several other important countries, it's much worse that not even the rudimentary percentages come out right. I've caught Goralski & Freeburg in some really bad maths before - this could be another case of that, or, far more likely, it could be a case of me forgetting to re-set the dial from 'extra stupid' before I transcribed the table.

I'll have to go over it once I am back with my books.


Hello Jon,
Either table from Goralski & Freeburg seems dodgy to me: The first one about tankers from the Lloyd's Register can't be accurate after 1939. Most of the 'Axis' new buildings and many allied ships operated by governements were not registered by Lloyd during the war.
The second about refined products is expressed in barrels per day. Beside being incomplete about refineries, the density of the refined products differed and their production ratio varied depending of the local or imported crude refined.

From the Statistical Year Book of the League of Nations, the production by country of all Petroleum Products in 1939 weighted (in metric tons):

USA.................151,852,000 (1939)
USSR .................26,600,000 (1939)
Curaçao (exp.)......22,261,000 (1938)
Iran....................7,916,000 (1939)
N.E.I...................6,536,000 (1939)
Roumania.............5,998,000 (1939)
France.................5,673,000 (1938)
Mexico.................5,436,000 (1939)
Canada.................5,242,000 (1939)
Argentina..............2,842,000 (1939)
Trinidad (exp.).......2,206,000 (1937)
Germany...............2,125,000 (1938)
United Kingdom.......1,787,000 (1938)
Venezuela..............1,777,000 (1939)
Japan...................1,147,000 (1935)
Peru.......................918,000 (1938)
Bahrein...................913,000 (1938)
Borneo....................892,000 (1939)
Burma....................864,000 (1939)
Italy......................756,000 (1939)
Egypte....................546,000 (1939)
Canaries.................525,000 (1939)
Columbia................479,000 (1939)
Poland...................415,000 (1938)
Czechoslovakia.........278,000 (1936)
Hungary.................227,000 (1938)
Uruguay.................216,000 (1939)
Belgium.................195,000 (1939)
India....................175,000 (1939)
Iraq.....................126,000 (1939)
Cuba....................108,000 (1939)
Austria...................85,000 (1937)
Manchuria...............82,000 (1935)
Ecuador..................59,000 (1939)
Sweden..................53,000 (1939)
Brazil.....................48,000 (1939)
Bolivia...................29,000 (1939)
Bulgaria..................29,000 (1938)
Yougoslavia.............26,000 (1937)
Formosa.................18,000 (1935)
Estonia..................15,000 (1938)
Latvia.....................8,000 (1938)
Barbados..................5,000 (1938)
World Total.........257,488,000

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby takata_1940 » 06 Jun 2009 11:57

On the other hand, the world production crude/shade oil for 1939 was (metric tons):

USA.............170,918,000
Venezuela.......30,533,000
USSR.............30,300,000
Iran..............10,329,000
N.E.I..............7,949,000
Mexico...........6,547,000
Roumania........6,225,000
Iraq...............3,817,000
Columbia.........3,425,000
Trinidad..........2,710,000
Argentina........2,655,000
Peru..............1,792,000
Burma............1,087,000
Bahrein...........1,036,000
Canada.............972,000
Borneo..............940,000
Egypt...............666,000
Germany...........647,000
Saudi Arabia.......536,000
Poland..............523,000
Japan...............380,000
India................321,000
Ecuador.............305,000
United Kingdom....231,000
Estonia.............182,000
Hungary............144,000
Albania.............125,000
Manchuria..........120,000
Austria.............110,000
France...............78,000
Bolivia...............28,000
Czechoslovakia.....16,000
Italy..................14,000
Morocco...............5,000
Spain..................5,000
World Total..........285,671,000
Liquid Refined.......257,488,000
Ratio: 90,1 % - the remaining products would be solid petroleum products (grease, wax, asphalt, etc.)

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Paul Lakowski » 25 Nov 2009 08:31

takata_1940 wrote:
Jon G. wrote:Super dodgy to say the least. One thing is that we will have to live with the omission of Japan, Romania and several other important countries, it's much worse that not even the rudimentary percentages come out right. I've caught Goralski & Freeburg in some really bad maths before - this could be another case of that, or, far more likely, it could be a case of me forgetting to re-set the dial from 'extra stupid' before I transcribed the table.

I'll have to go over it once I am back with my books.


Hello Jon,
Either table from Goralski & Freeburg seems dodgy to me: The first one about tankers from the Lloyd's Register can't be accurate after 1939. Most of the 'Axis' new buildings and many allied ships operated by governements were not registered by Lloyd during the war.
The second about refined products is expressed in barrels per day. Beside being incomplete about refineries, the density of the refined products differed and their production ratio varied depending of the local or imported crude refined.



I read a history on Lloyd's Register, and they freely admitted that they only can achieve about 75% register in any given country and the lists are far from accurate or definitive. In countries were they had restricted access the success registration rate was even lower.

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby Carl Schwamberger » 05 Dec 2009 07:49

While not a broad et of numbers John Ellis in 'Brute Force' provides some comparisons for wartime oil production and tanker fleets. His numbers largely derive from post war US and British surveys, and are at odds with the items posted above.

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Re:

Postby PMN1 » 11 May 2011 22:12

Jon G. wrote:The Ohio, rated at 9,263 tons according to the Wiki article, is often named as the largest tanker in the world at the time of her launching in 1940. This ship earned fame from the 1942 PEDESTAL convoy to resupply Malta, where she was seriously damaged.

Later tankers were larger. The T-2 tankers, built by US shipyards by the hundreds from 1942 and on, weighed in at about 16,000 deadweight tons.

Technically, it was 'easy' enough to build larger tankers. The limiting factor was the size of oil terminals and dockside space and port depth.


From Conway’s ‘The Shipping Revolution’: The Modern Merchant Ship

Eagle Transport had built what was for its time were very large tankers – 16,000 dwt – for transporting Mexican oil to the United Kingdom just before the First World War. The trend continued during the between-wars period, and during the Second World War the ‘T2’ of 16,400 dwt became the standard tanker.

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Re: Oil tankers

Postby LColombo » 19 Oct 2017 21:18

I've been wanting to make a list for this thread of all Italian oil tankers in Jordan's book, their GRT sizes, their whereabouts on June 10 1940, and their wartime fates, but I haven't yet gotten round to it.


I also would like to see a list of Italian tankers with sizes.


Definitely a dead topic, but since I made a list of (I believe) all Italiank tankers in WW2, I thought it may be proper to post here if anyone is interested.

For the "civilian" tankers I have not included (a) the ships that were in enemy ports or outside the Mediterranean in June 1940, and were thus not available to Italy during the war (I have made a short list of them as a sort of appendix, at the bottom of the post), and (b) tankers below 500 GRT. For naval oilers, I did not include (a) ships that were outside the Mediterranean in June 1940 (also included in the list at the bottom) and (b) water tankers.


1) Civilian owned tankers available in June 1940 (53 tankers totalling 224,695 GRT, including two seized Norwegian tankers totalling 16,951 GRT):

Abruzzi, 680 GRT, built 1897, captured by the Germans at the armistice and sunk in La Spezia on 26.5.1944
Albaro, 2,104 GRT, built 1911, captured by the Germans in September 1943 and scuttled in Livorno on 13.2.1944, later refloated and scrapped
Alberto Fassio, 2,289 GRT, built 1914, sunk by mine off Preveza on 26.7.1943
Alcione C., 521 GRT, built 1915, sunk by submarine HMS Taurus on 14.4.1943 off Corsica
Alfredo, 654 GRT, built 1918, sunk by British aircraft on 20.1.1943 en route Piraeus-Iraklion
Annarella, 5,999 GRT, built 1913, survived the war
Antares, 3,723 GRT, built 1893, sold to Turkey in 1941
Arca, 2,238 GRT, built 1885, sunk by submarine HMS Taku on 26.10.1942 en route Istanbul-Leros
Ardor, 8,960 GRT, built 1927, sunk by German aircraft off Kotor on 12.9.1943
Berbera, 2,093 GRT, built 1931, sunk by air strike in Navarino on 28.11.1941 (later salvaged and towed to Split for repairs, was there on 8.9.1943, later sunk in the same area (1945?) and scrapped (1949?))
Bonzo, 8,177 GRT, built 1931, sunk by submarine HMS Truant on 16.12.1940 en route Taranto-Augusta
Brarena, 6,996 GRT, built 1930, formerly Norwegian (seized by Italy after the declaration of war), sunk by British aircraft on 22.7.1941 en route Trapani-Tripoli
Cassala, 1,797 GRT, built 1902, sunk by the German bombing of Bari on 2.12.1943
Caucaso, 2,065 GRT, built 1920, sunk by air strike in Tunis on 14.12.1942
Celeno, 3,741 GRT, built 1899, captured by the Germans on 12.9.1943 and renamed Claudia, captured by USSR in 1945
Cesco, 6,161 GRT, built 1917, torpedoed by submarine HMS Unruly on 15.8.1943, towed to Taranto, laid up (total loss?), scrapped in 1950
Cesteriano, 6,664 GRT, built 1919, scuttled in La Spezia 9.9.1943, refloated by the Germans and sunk in Toulon by air strike 30.8.1944
Conte di Misurata, 5,014 GRT, built 1908, sunk by British warships (Force K) on 9.11.1941 en route Messina-Tripoli (“Duisburg” convoy)
Dora C., 5,843 GRT, built 1922, torpedoed by HMS Unshaken off Brindisi on 5.9.1943, survived the war
Giorgio, 4,887 GRT, built 1907, damaged by torpedo bombers en route Palermo-Tunisi and run aground to avoid sinking on 1.12.1942, sunk by submarine HMS Splendid on 21.3.1943 while being towed to Genoa for repairs
Giulio Giordani, 10,534 GRT, built 1940, sunk by British torpedo bombers and submarine HMS Porpoise on 18.11.1942 en route Taranto-Tripoli
Giuseppina Ghirardi, 3,319 GRT, built 1892, sunk by submarine HMS Torbay on 10.6.1941 en route Dardanelles-Piraeus
Iridio Mantovani, 10,540 GRT, built 1939, sunk by British aircraft and warships (Force K) on 1.12.1941 en route Trapani-Tripoli
Labor, 510 GRT, built 1930, sunk by air strike in Palermo on 22.3.1943
Laura Corrado, 3,645 GRT, built 1899, sunk by submarine HMS Rorqual on 30.3.1941 en route Naples-Algiers
Lina, 1,235 GRT, built 1909, sunk by British torpedo bombers on 17.12.1941 en route Pantelleria-Tripoli
Lina Campanella, 3,356 GRT, built 1893, captured by the Germans in September 1943, captured by the Yugoslavs in May 1945 and damaged by a mine in the same month (with Istrian prisoners aboard, many victims), used as a hulk by the Yugoslav Navy, scrapped in 1950
Lucania, 8,106 GRT, built 1902, sunk bu submarine HMS Una on 12.2.1942 en route Taranto-Genoa
Luisiano, 2,552 GRT, built 1917, sunk by British torpedo bombers on 28.10.1942 en route Navarino-Bengasi
Marangona, 5,227 GRT, built 1914, sunk by mine on 10.12.1940 en route Tripoli-Palermo
Maya, 3,867 GRT, built 1894, sunk by submarine HMS Perseus on 5.9.1941 en route Piraeus-Dardanelles
Meteor, 1,685 GRT, built 1925, sunk by submarine HMS Truant on 31.10.1941 en route Bari-Ancona
Nautilus, 2,070 GRT, built 1921, sunk by submarine HMS Utmost on 13.10.1942 en route La Maddalena-Civitavecchia
Nuraghe, 633 GRT, built 1921, ran aground and wrecked on the coast of Albania on 24.3.1941
Persiano, 2,474 GRT, built 1889, sunk by submarine HMS Tetrarch on 12.4.1941 en route Palermo-Tripoli
Picci Fassio, 2,261 GRT, built 1909, sunk by British aircraft on 2.9.1942 en route Suda-Tobruk
Portofino, 6,426 GRT, built 1916, sunk by USAAF air raid on Bengasi on 6.11.1942
Portovecchio, 598 GRT, built 1894, sunk by air strike in Genoa on 4.9.1944, refloated and repaired postwar
Poseidone, 6,613 GRT, built 1912, captured by the Germans at the armistice and scuttled by them in Livorno on 8.5.1944, later refloated and repaired
Pro Patria, 545 GRT, built 1905, sunk by air raid in Sfax on 29.12.1942
Romagna, 1,416 GRT, built 1899, sunk by mine on 2.8.1943 en route Arbatax-Cagliari
Rondine, 6,077 GRT, built 1924, damaged by British torpedo bombers on 2.10.1942 en route Tobruk-Piraeus (returned to Tobruk, later sent to Italy after temporary repairs), survived the war
Rosario, 5,648 GRT, built 1918, sunk by submarine HMS Trooper on 10.3.1943 en route Naples-Tunisia
Sanandrea, 5,077 GRT, built 1908, sunk by British torpedo bombers on 30.8.1942 en route Taranto-Tobruk
Splendor, 12,175 GRT, built 1932, scuttled in Savona 9.9.1943, refloated by the Germans, sunk again by air strike, refloated and repaired postwar
Strombo, 5,232 GRT, built 1923, sunk by explosion in Salamis on 21.8.1941 while being repaired after being torpedoed by submarines HMS Torbay (10.7.1941) and HMS Parthian (2.6.1941)
Superga, 6,154 GRT, built 1922, sunk by Soviet submarine SHCH 211 on 29.9.1941 en route Varna-Burgas (Black Sea)
Tampico, 4,958 GRT, built 1908, torpedoed by submarine HMS Proteus on 3.11.1941 off Greece, towed to Venice and scuttled there on 11.9.1943 (repairs not yet completed), refloated by the Germans and used as target by RSI X Mas, scrapped postwar
Thorsheimer, 9,955 GRT, built 1935, formerly Norwegian (seized by Italy after the declaration of war), sunk by British aircraft on 21.2.1943 en route Trapani-Tunisi
Torcello, 3,336 GRT, built 1892, sunk by Soviet submarine SHCH 214 on 29.9.1941 en route Istanbul-Costanta (Black Sea)
Utilitas, 5,342 GRT, built 1918, sunk by submarine HMS Turbulent on 5.2.1943 en route Taranto-Palermo
Zaule, 689 GRT, built 1919, captured by the Germans in Trieste in September 1943, later sunk in Trieste in unspecified circumstances, refloated and rebuilt postwar
Zeila, 1,834 GRT, built 1898, sunk by submarine HMS Unison on 23.3.1943 en route Crotone-Messina

2) Civilian owned tankers that entered service after 10 June 1940 (built during the war or captured/acquired from other countries): 12 tankers totalling 74,905 GRT (new buildings: 8 ships totalling 53,348 GRT; foreign origin: 4 ships totalling 21,557 GRT, all French):

Bivona, 1,646 GRT, built 1930, formerly French Socomber (transferred to Italy in December 1942), sunk by submarine HMS Unrivalled on 19.4.1943 en route Palermo-Bizerta
Carnaro, 8,257 GRT, completed 1943, torpedoed on 24.5.1943 by submarine ORP Dzik, towed to Naples, captured by the Germans at the armistice and scuttled on 17.9.1943, later salvaged
Illiria, 8,201 GRT, completed 1943, scuttled in Trieste 9.9.1943, refloated by the Germans, in service again at the end of the war (requisitioned June 1945-September 1946)
Minatitlan, 7,651 GRT, ordered by Mexico in Italian shipyards but seized by Italy and completed in 1941, sunk by British warships (Force K) on 9.11.1941 en route Messina-Tripoli (“Duisburg” convoy)
Panuco, 7,751 GRT, ordered by Mexico in Italian shipyards but seized by Italy and completed in 1941, damaged by British torpedo bombers on 18.10.1942 en route Messina-Tripoli (reached Taranto), captured by the Germans in Genoa 8.9.1943 while awaiting repairs, scuttled by the Germans in Genoa in 1944, salvaged and scrapped postwar
Poza Rica, 7,751 GRT, ordered by Mexico in Italian shipyards but seized by Italy and completed in 1941, damaged by British torpedo bombers on 20.8.1942 en route Messina-Bengasi (brought to Corfu), captured by the Germans in Venice 13.9.1943, survived the war and delivered to Mexico
Proserpina, 4,869 GRT, built 1926, formerly French Beauce (transferred to Italy in June 1941), sunk by British torpedo bombers on 26.10.1942 en route Taranto-Tobruk
Sergio Laghi, 10,495 GRT, completed 1943, captured by the Germans in Venice in September 1943; in April 1945 partisans, her crew and AGIP personnel prevented the Germans from scuttling her, survived the war
Saturno, 5,022 GRT, built 1914, formerly French Massis (transferred to Italy in June 1941), sunk by aircraft on 21.1.1943 en route Bizerta-Naples
Tarn, 10,020 GRT, formerly French (seized by Italy in December 1942), damaged by torpedo bombers in Bizerta on 17.11.1942, run aground, sunk by air strike on 30.1.1943 while being towed to Bizerta dockyard for repairs
Ugo Fiorelli, 1,620 GRT, built 1943, survived the war
Vittorino Zanibon, 1,622 GRT, built 1943, survived the war

3) Naval oilers: 10 at the start of the war, for overall 67.899 tons of displacement (not GRT), plus another one (Devoli, formerly Jugoslav Perun) that entered service in 1941:

(I could not find equivalent GRT for Prometeo, Cocito, Lete and Stige, so I have to use tons of displacement for the overall data)

Cerere, 1,357 GRT/2,806 tons, built 1915, captured by the Germans in Piraeus in September 1943, renamed Centaur, went missing in the Aegean Sea on 2.4.1944 (probably foundered in a storm) en route Piraeus-Leros
Cocito, 1,433 tons, built 1916, scuttled in Savona in September 1943, salvaged and scrapped in 1949
Lete, 1,433 tons, built 1916, survived the war
Marte, 2,502 GRT/5,553 tons, built 1892, captured by the Germans on 9.9.1943, scuttled as blockship in Livorno in July 1944, refloated in May 1947 and scrapped
Nettuno, 5,088 GRT/10,760 tons, built 1917, survived the war
Prometeo, 1,284 tons, built 1920, survived the war
Sterope, 10,496 GRT/19,955 tons, built 1940, damaged by torpedo bombers off Sicily on 12.3.1943, captured by the Germans in Genoa on 9.9.1943 while awaiting repairs, later scuttled by the Germans, raised and scrapped postwar
Stige, 1,475 tons, built 1925, captured by the Germans in Pola in September 1943, scuttled by them in Venice in April 1945, salvaged postwar but scrapped in 1950 without re-entering service
Tarvisio, 5,484 GRT/11,700 tons, built 1928, survived the war
Urano, 5,512 GRT/11,500 tons, built 1923, survived the war

Devoli, 3,006 GRT, built 1939, formerly Yugoslav Perun (belonging to the Yugoslav Navy, captured in April 1941), sunk by Submarine HMS Splendid on 17.3.1943 en route Palermo-Trapani

4) Tankers that were outside of the Mediterranean or in emeny ports in June 1940: 43 ships:

Alabama, 6,724 GRT – Off Venezuela
Americano, 7,088 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Anteo, 6,771 GRT – Cartagena, Colombia
Antonia C., 5,777 GRT – Massawa, Eritrea (Italian East Africa)
Arcola, 6,348 GRT – Tenerife, Canary Islands
Atlas, 2,005 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Bacicin Padre, 5,591 GRT – Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Barbara, 3,065 GRT – Bandar Shaphur, Iran
Brennero, 4,945 GRT – New York, USA (note: owned by the Navy, managed by Cooperativa Garibaldi of Genoa)
Bronte, 4,768 GRT – Bandar Shaphur, Iran (note: owned by the Navy, managed by Cooperativa Garibaldi of Genoa)
Burano, 4,450 GRT – Santa Cruz de la Palma, Canary Islands
Clelia Campanella, 3,244 GRT– Massawa, Eritrea (Italian East Africa)
Clizia, 3,697 GRT – Gijon, Spain
Colorado, 5,038 GRT – San Juan de Portorico
Dentice, 5,821 GRT – Off Venezuela
Fede, 7,884 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Franco Martelli, 10,535 GRT – Recife, Brazil
Frisco, 4,609 GRT – Fortaleza, Brazil
Fulgor, 6,503 GRT – Cadiz, Spain
Genoano, 6,066 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Gianna M., 5.718 GRT – Las Palmas, Canary Islands
Giorgio Fassio, 6,735 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Giove, 5,210 GRT – Massawa, Eritrea (Italian East Africa) (note: owned by the Navy, managed by Cooperativa Garibaldi of Genoa)
Jole Fassio, 5,168 GRT – Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Olterra, 4,995 GRT – Algeciras, Spain
Lavoro, 7,885 GRT – Algeciras, Spain
Lucifero, 4,000 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Marghera, 4,530 GRT – Kismayu, Somalia (Italian East Africa)
Niobe, naval oiler, 3,740 tons – Massawa, Eritrea (Italian East Africa)
Pagao, 6,101 GRT – Algeciras, Spain
Pensilvania, 6,860 GRT – Kismayu, Somalia (Italian East Africa)
Prometeo, 4,957 GRT – Massawa, Eritrea (Italian East Africa) (note: not to be confused with the naval oiler Prometeo)
Rapallo, 5,812 GRT – Cartagena, Colombia
Recco, 5,595 GRT – Tenerife, Canary Islands
Riva Ligure, 2,135 GRT – Massawa, Eritrea (Italian East Africa)
Sangro, 6,466 GRT – Tenerife, Canary Islands
Stelvio, 6,962 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Taigete, 4,672 GRT – Tenerife, Canary Islands
Teresa Odero, 8,196 GRT – Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Todaro, 5,162 GRT – Tenerife, Canary Islands
Trottiera, 6,204 GRT – Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
Tuscania, 6,904 GRT – Tampico, Mexico
Vigor, 6,510 GRT – Tampico, Mexico


Regarding the wartime fates of these ships:

Eight of the in Spanish, Canary and Brazilian harbours became blockade runners: Clizia, Burano, Todaro and Frisco successfully reached France; Recco was intercepted by a British warship and scuttled by her crew; Sangro was captured by British ocean boarding vessel Camito but sunk immediately thereafter by a U-Boat; Gianna M. was captured by a British warship; Franco Martelli was sunk by a British submarine.

The ones in Eritrea were all scuttled in Massawa or the Dahlak Islands at the fall of Eritrea, in April 1941.

The ones in Spanish and Canary harbours (bar the ones that tried to run the blockade) all survived the war; after the armistice, some of them were released from internment and sailed for the Allies. Olterra was used as a secret base for X MAS operations against Gibraltar during the time Italy was at war with the Allies.

All ships in U.S., Portorican, and Venezuelan ports were seized on 30 March 1941 after a move initiated by the US Government and followed by some Central and South American countries. Trottiera, Teresa Odero and Jole Fassio were set afire by their crews, but were repaired.

Dentice and Alabama had been attacked by French cruisers in June 1940; Alabama was seriously damaged and Dentice was purposefully run aground and set afire by her crew to prevent capture, but they were both repaired and internet in Puerto Cabello with the others, and followed their fate.

All ships in Mexican and Colombian harbours were seized by those countries on 8 December 1941, after the Axis’ declaration of war on the USA. Atlas was scuttled by her crew but was refloated and repaired.

The two tankers in Bandar Shaphur (Barbara and Bronte) were set afire by their crews when the British invaded Iran, but were both captured and repaired.

The two tankers that were in Somalia were both lost in February 1941, when the British captured Somalia. One (Marghera) was scuttled in Kismayu and the other (Pensilvania) was shelled and/or bombed by British ships and aircraft, run aground near Mogadishu, and became a total loss.

Several of the tankers seized or captured (especially those seized by Mexico) were sunk during the war while sailing for the Allies; many of the survivors were returned to Italy postwar.

Hiryu-
Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 09 Aug 2017 15:01
Location: France

Re: Oil tankers

Postby Hiryu- » 06 Nov 2017 18:00

Very good post LColombo, thank you!


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