Dos Santos, Claudino Mendes



Officer on the Frimaire (France - Vichy)

Birth place – 
Birth date – 

Death date – 15/06/1942 
Fathe –
Mother –

News about the hiring of French tankers in May 1942

News about the hiring of French tankers in May 1942

Claudino Mendes dos Santos died aboard the French oil tanker “Frimaire”, sunk by the German U-boat U-68 near the coast of Colombia, South America, on June 15, 1942.

The “Frimaire” was a tanker that flew the flag of Vichy – a French state under German rule – and was rented by the Portuguese government with the “Aragaz”, also of French nationality, to ensure the supply of liquid fuels until the end of the war.

Claudino Mendes, resident in Restauradores, in Lisbon, was a captain in the merchant navy and was on board as one of the representatives of the Portuguese State.

The commander of the German U-boat saw the Vichy French markings on the ship, but suspected that it was a naval asset captured by the Americans and that they were transporting it from South America to the USA.

The attack, with three torpedoes, occurred at 8:30 pm local time and the Frimaire capsized within a few minutes, taking all 60 crew members with it.

At the beginning of the war, Portugal did not have any tankers in its fleet, which made the supply of liquid fuels very difficult. Throughout the conflict - which lasted between 1939 and 1945 - Spanish, French and Swedish vessels were hired to ensure the arrival of gasoline and diesel fuel in Portugal.

The only tanker flying the Portuguese flag during this period was the “Sam Braz” launched in March 1942. It was the first unit of its kind built in portugal.

Carlos Guerreiro


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