Thursday, March 31, 2011

S.S. Emidio

Del Norte County August 22, 1993

“Full speed ahead, and dump ballast!” shouts Capt. Clark Farrow on the empty tanker heading from Seattle to San Francisco early in the afternoon of December 20, 1941. It was to no avail, Commander Nishino Kozo and his submarine were making 20 knots on the surface and the S.S. Emidio was a sitting duck, and fire from the deck gun and eventual torpedoes drove the surviving crew from the ship. An S.O.S. brings a submarine hunting PBY aircraft but the sub dives and gets away. Things were dicey on the west coast in those early days of World War II.

Today, the AMMV (American Merchant Marine Veterans)  are working to improve an already impressive landmark site and great little park. It has been said you can’t get in the Merchant Marines unless you’re in the union, and you can’t get in the union unless you’re in the Merchant Marines…in other words, it’s an inside job.

With songs about the Tuna Club, the S.S. Catalina, and Liberty Hill already in the bag, an album on maritime subjects from California state landmarks is very likely, and along with the Brother Jonathan, the S.S. Emidio are ringers for the short list. Hmmm, dad was with PBY’s during WWII and though he fought the war stationed in Minnesota and Oklahoma, a little poetic license could put him in the plane that chases the sub. 

Plaque inscription: NO. 497 S.S. EMIDIO - Nearby are portions of the hull of the General Petroleum Corporation tanker S.S. Emidio, which on December 20, 1941 became the first casualty of the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine force action on California's Pacific Coast. The ship was attacked some 200 miles north of San Francisco and five crewmen were killed. Abandoned, the vessel drifted north and broke up on the rocks off Crescent City. The bow drifted into the harbor, where it lay near this marker until salvaged in 1950.
Location: Beach Front Park and Picnic Area, SW corner of Front and H Sts, Crescent City
Google maps: 41.75052,-124.196566

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