The identity of the Navio do Breu

Foto: Clécio Mayrink

For the third time on the Brasil Mergulho, the “Navio do Breu” is back to the news. After the articles about the localization and identification of his cargo , now the identity of the ship is the focus of this article.

During research efforts about a steamship named “Petrel”, I´ve notice several coincidences between the wreckage of the “Navio do Breu” and the Petrel. The Petrel was built in 1911 in England by Osborne Graham Shipyard for the Sul Riograndense navigation company and it was a coaster steamship of 599 tons. It left Rio Grande do Sul in May, the 29th of 1915 and it was declare lost in August 18th of 1915.

Not coincidences:

The above data was taken from the Lloyd´s register, a insurance company widely know in the entirely world.

Another place where I found informations about the Petrel is the “Subsídios para a história marítima brasileira” published by the brazilian navy. According to the “Subsídios”, the Petrel sunk on the south coast of Rio de Janeiro after a collision with the barque named Storning.

The difference between this two sources is the year of sinking of the Petrel. In Lloyd´s register is 1915 and in the Subsídios in 1916.

The Coincidences:

Year of sinking 1911: The type of structures found in the wreckage of Navio do Breu seems to be of this period.

Size of the ship: The “Navio do Breu” is a small ship and the Petrel was like this: A coaster of 599 tons.

Cargo: The Petrel was in a voyage from Rio Grande do Sul bound to Rio de Janeiro. In the “Navio do Breu” we found hundreds of bottles with this label: “João da Silva Silveira – Chim Pharm – Pelotas – Rio Grande do Sul“.

Besides, another cargo of the Petrel was barrels of grease from Rio Grande do Sul. The “Navio do Breu” have this name because in the the wreckage there are dozens of barrels of grease.”Navio do Breu” = “Ship of the Grease”.

Place of sinking: According to the “Subsídios para a história marítima brasileira”, the Petrel sunk on the south coast of Rio de Janeiro and the localization of the “navio do Breu” wreckage are in this area.

The coincidences and will to declare the “Navio do Breu” as the Petrel are huge but there are still missing a part of the chain to identify with hundred por cent sure that the Petrel is really the “Navio do Breu”. Any informations that ours readers could send to us to help us to finish this myteries will be welcome.

Rodrigo Coluccini
Criador e proprietário da Revista Deco Stop, foi um dos responsáveis pela divulgação em larga escala das informações sobre naufrágios no litoral brasileiro, fato antes restrito a poucos. É co-autor do manual de naufrágios da certificadora PDIC. Seu trabalho é citado em vários livros atuais sobre história maritima brasileira confirmando a importância de seu trabalho.