RFA Santa Margherita



RFA Santa Margareita 

 Santa M 

Santa Margareta


Previous name:                     Olympia,  HM Oiler No: 121

Subsequent name:                 Marinula,  Trigonia

Official Number:                     137509                                              

Class:                                   OLYMPIA CLASS Ocean Tanker

Pennant No:                          P84 / X26 / Y7.121

Signal Letters:                       JMSK (1919)

Laid down:                            10 July 1913
Builder:                                 Vickers Ltd, Barrow-in-Furness
Launched:                             23 Oct 1915
Into Service:                          21 July 1916

Out of service:                       8 Dec 1920 sold commercially

Fate:                                     5 April 1951 Arrived at Newport for breaking up


Items of historic interest involving this ship: –


Background Data:  There were originally to have been 4 ships in this Class, all Admiralty-designed and to have been named   OLYMPIA, OLAF, OLIVIA and OLNA, but the latter 3 were all cancelled. The original engines were installed as an experiment in order to evaluate the worth of diesel engines as power plants for cruisers, and using the then largest diesel engine available was notable for its all-electric auxiliaries. The construction of OLYMPIA was delayed by other War priorities and she was renamed in order that she might lose her Admiralty identity. She was placed under commercial management to avoid any complications at neutral loading ports and questions of breach of neutrality.


10 July 1913 laid down as OLYMPIA. Construction was delayed by War priorities

8 January 1914 press report –


8 1 1914 West Morning News various


23 October 1915 launched by Vickers Ltd, Barrow-in-Furness as Yard Nr 445 named SANTA MARGHERITA. Named after Santa Margherita Ligure on the Italian Riviera

1 January 1916 Captain Richard N Smardon RFA appointed as Master

1 June 1916 took on charge an E Dent & Co Hack Watch No 53870 which had been purchased by the Admiralty in March 1906 and had only been used on charge by HMS DIDO. The watch was sold with the ship when it left the service on 8 December 1920

18 July 1916 completed. Placed under management of Sir Thomas B. Royden & Sons, Liverpool and was awaiting her trials in the Firth of Forth

22 July 1916 sailed Portsmouth for Rosyth

22 July 1916 passed Beechy Head

23 July 1916 passed Foreness steering North at 10kts

24 July 1916 anchored at Hull

24 July 1916 passed Flanborough Head escorted by HM Armed Trawler 1537 north bound

26 July 1916 passed St Abbs Head sailing NW – arrived in Leith Roads

28 July 1916 departed Rosyth on her maiden voyage to the Persian Gulf to load a cargo  She reportedly suffered many defects en route

29 July 1916 passed Flanborough Head

7 August 1916 passed Gibraltar

15 August 1916 arrived at Port Said sailing two days later 

3 September 1916 arrived Mohammerah

13 October 1916 broke down at the entrance to the Shatt-el-Arab and requested a tow to load at Abadan. No tow was available so she was loaded at the Bar with 8,048 tons of cargo and 81 tons of bunkers

25 October 1916 at Aden Fireman Daniel Newlands discharged dead – drowned

1 November 1916 to 6 November 1916 at Aden with divers from HMS MINERVA repairing her ‘A’ bracket and propellor


HMS Minerva 1895



7 November 1916 sailed Aden after repairs to her propellor

9 November 1916 broke down again, sighted by HMS MINERVA and taken in tow

21 November 1916 arrived at Suez

26 November 1916 arrived at Port Said

5 December 1916 sailed Suez to Alexandria for repairs arriving the same day

9 March 1917 signalled by HMS CLIO which was on patrol between Perim and the African coast

20 April 1917 at 23°46N 65°52E while on passage from Bombay to Henjam and in a convoy being escorted by HMS PYRAMUS broke down. Exchanged signals with the escort 





16 June 1918 at sea Electrician David Addie discharged dead – drowned

18 July 1918 at sea General Servant Chrisolo Fernandes discharged dead – heat stroke

20 September 1918 at Bar of Shat-al-Arab Lascar Seaman Varjam Kandha discharged dead – beri beri

23 September 1918 at Abadan Hospital Fireman Govan Cover discharged dead from natural causes. He had signed on on 3 May 1918 at Bombay

2 October 1918 at Basra Hospital Secunny Purbut Dew discharged dead from natural causes. He had signed on on 3 May 1918 at Bombay

30 October 1918 at Bar of Shat-al-Arab 4th Engineer Officer James Edward Harrison and Junior Engineer Officer Tom Clegg both discharged dead – both drowned

20 March 1919 the Lancashire Evening Post published …



Engineer William Slessor

Engineer William Slessor

rhs medal

21 April 1919 at Port Said HMS MANTIS alongside to refuel – received 54 tons

28 April 1919 at Port Said HMS MOTH alongside to refuel  – received 45 tons

13 July 1919 at Port Said HMS CAROLINE alongside to refuel


HMS caroline



15 July 1919 the Director of Tranport & Shipping, Admiralty reported that RFA SANTA MARGHERITA had been sold to Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd.

7 August 1919 at Port Said Chief Engineer Officer George Wells RFA discharged dead – natural causes

8 October 1919 arrived at Portland Harbour from Suez

3 September 1920 cleared New Orleans for Tampico

25 September 1920 arrived at Port Eads from Tampico

4 October 1920 cleared Port Eads for Tuxpam

15 November 1920 arrived at Port Eads

8 December 1920 after War service she was refitted at Barrow and was sold to Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co Ltd, London and was renamed MARINULA

8 July 1921 sailed Tuxpan for LEFO

29 August 1921 arrived at Plymouth from Rotterdam

30 August 1921 sailed Plymouth for Key West

10 September 1921 at Port Arthur, Texas

19 September 1921 sailed Port Arthur, Texas to Tampico

28 September 1921 sailed Tampico for LEFO

21 October 1921 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing east

23 October 1921 berthed at Thameshaven

15 May 1922 sailed from Port Said

27 June 1922 berthed at Rotterdam from Tampico

16 August 1922 arrived at Liverpool from Bermuda

19 September 1922 arrived at Port Arthur, Texas

8 October 1922 arrived at Rotterdam

30 October 1922 at Shell Haven

3 November 1922 sailed Rotterdam for Tampico

23 November 1922 passed Key West

26 December 1922 radioed that she was 220 nmiles SW of Land’s End

14 February 1923 sailed Panama

6 March 1923 arrived at Seattle from Amsterdam

6 May 1923 sailed San Francisco for Balboa

22 May 1923 transitted the Panama Canal

12 June 1923 sailed San Pedro for London

27 November 1923 arrived Tampico from Rotterdam

25 December 1923 sailed Tampico for Warners, New Jersey

18 February 1924 sailed Tampico for LEFO

13 March 1924 arrived at Southampton from Tampico

22 April 1924 sailed Las Palmas for Tampico

18 January 1925 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

14 March 1925 sailed Liverpool for Bermuda

24 July 1925 sailed Curaçao for LEFO

6 September 1925 anchored at Bermuda after loosing the starboard propellor while on passage from Amsterdam to Galveston

22 November 1925 passed St Catherines Point

1 December 1925 sailed Liverpool for Norfolk VA

2 July 1926 passed the Lloyds Signal Station on the Lizard sailing west

17 January 1927 dry docked at Rotterdam

13 February 1927 sailed Rotterdam for Fayal for orders

28 March 1927 arrived at Lisbon

20 April 1927 at Trinidad

13 May 1927 arrived at Thameshaven

15 July 1927 arrived at the River Tyne

4 August 1927 passed Dungeness

16 October 1927 arrived at Rotterdam

1927 renamed TRIGONIA by her owners

1928 re-engined with 2 x 12 cyl Werkspoor 26  “ x 47¼” diesel engines. 3000 bhp. Speed now 13 knots

20 January 1929 at 22°05N 53°49W Pantry Boy Jare Fat discharged dead – he jumped overboard and was drowned

22 April 1931 berthed at Avonmouth to discharge

14 December 1932 at sea Chief Engineer Officer Arthur Rainford discharged dead – disappeared at sea

22 October 1931 berthed at Avonmouth to discharge

20 November 1931 at 23°09N 58°40W Sailor Ling You Pay discharged dead – natural causes

6 April 1932 ran aground in Panuco River, USA partly loaded. Cargo being off loaded to lighted the ship  – ship refloated overnight – no casualties

1932 transferred to the associated Shell Co., Gibraltar to serve as a fuel hulk there name unchanged

26 November 1933 78 miles ESE of Lands End when on passage to St Kitts for orders

7 February 1934 sailed St Vincent, CV for Barbados

28 August 1934 sailed from the River Tyne

30 August 1934 reported she was 55 miles SE of Lands End

9 June 1935 at 23°36N 50°50W Pantry Boy Lion Ze discharged dead – ‘accidental death – was knocked out when he attacked Apprentice Siemsseh (?) and died without regaining conciousness’

25 January 1940 sailed the Clyde to Liverpool arriving on 29 January 1940

1 February 1940 sailed Liverpool in escorted convoy OB83 to Freetown in ballast

3 February 1940 convoy OB83 (see above) formed Convoy OG17F – arrived Gibraltar 9 February 1940

1940 sent to Freetown for service as a fuel hulk. Was temporarily operated by RFA engineers

19 April 1940 in collision with another vessel while alongside at Freetown, Sierra Leone

4 December 1943 at Freetown, Sierra Leone with USS Macomb (DD458), USS Halligan (DD584), USS Emmons (DD457), USS Rodman (DD456) and USS Hall (DD583) alongside being refuelled

USS Macomb DD458

USS Macomb (DD458)

August 1944 to October 1944 under going repairs at Freetown

26 June 1945 sailed Freetown to Table Bay arriving 13 July 1945

3 July 1945 at 11°02S 03°21W Sailor Ah Say discharged dead – malaria

17 July 1945 arrived at Durban for repairs

27 July 1945 requisitioned (special charter) to act as a Fuel Hulk at Durban

5 November 1945 at Durban Carpenter Jung Tong discharged dead – natural causes

19 February 1946 sailed Durban to Gibraltar arriving 20 March 1946 in ballast

21 March 1946 returned to her owners

16 February 1951 sailed Gibraltar Bay in tow

2 March 1951 arrived Swansea in tow – sold to BISCO for breaking up on 7 March 1951

5 April 1951 arrived Newport, Monmouthshire for demolition by John Cashmore Ltd



1.  The upper two images are of the ship while sailing as the Trigonia