Military Wiki
MV Sebastiano Veniero (1940)
Career (The Netherlands, Italy, Germany)
Name: Monfalcone (1939, planned)
Jason (1940)
Sebastiano Veniero (1940–41)
Namesake: Monfalcone (1939)
Jason (1940)
Sebastiano Venier (1940–41)
Owner: Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij Oceaan (1940),
Società Italiana di Armamento (1940–41),
Mittelmeer Reederei GmbH (1941)
Port of registry: Netherlands Amsterdam
Kingdom of Italy Fiume
Nazi Germany Hamburg
Ordered: 1939
Builder: Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico (CRDA)
Yard number: 1,233
Launched: 1940
Completed: May 1950
Identification: IMO number: 5614119

call sign PFCC

ICS Papa.svgICS Foxtrot.svgICS Charlie.svgICS Charlie.svg
Fate: torpedoed and beached,
9 December 1941
General characteristics
Tonnage: 6,338 GRT
6,116 DWT

449 ft 6 in (137.01 m) p/p

471 ft (143.5 m) o/a
Beam: 60 ft 11 in (18.6 m)
Depth: 26 ft (8 m)
Installed power: 1,320 NHP, 5,500 bhp
Propulsion: FIAT diesel engine

MV Sebastiano Veniero, formerly MV Jason, was a 6,310 GRT cargo and passenger motor ship that was built in Italian-ruled Fiume in 1940. In 1941 she was damaged by a Royal Navy submarine in the Mediterranean Sea, killing at least 300 UK and Dominion prisoners of war, and possibly many more. She did not sink but was beached on the coast of the Peloponnese, where she was torpedoed again a week later and became a total loss.

Building and seizure[]

Lloyd Triestino ordered the ship in 1939 from Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico (CRDA) of Fiume. Lloyd Triestino planned to name her Monfalcone.[1]

Monfalcone was built to a standard design and had a number of sister ships. She had a FIAT diesel engine. Sources disagree as to whether it was a six-[2] or 12-cylinder unit,[1] and whether her speed was 12 knots (22 km/h),[1] 13.5 knots (25 km/h)[1][2] or 16 knots (30 km/h).[3]

Lloyd Triestino could not afford to pay for the ship, so CRDA sold her to Nederlandsche Stoomvaart Maatschappij Oceaan (NSMO), the Dutch subsidiary of the UK shipping company Blue Funnel Line.[1] NSMO followed Blue Funnel's policy of naming its ships after figures from Greek antiquity and mythology. Monfalcone was renamed Jason after the mythological character of the same name. Her name, nationality and two large Dutch flags were painted on each side of her hull to identify her as a neutral ship.[1]

Jason began her sea trials on 9 May 1940, before Italy entered the Second World War. But the next day Germany invaded the Netherlands, and Italian authorities seized her and assigned her to the Italian shipping company Società Italiana di Armamento (Sidarma). She was renamed Sebastiano Veniero after a 16th-century Venetian admiral and Doge, Sebastiano Venier (1496–1578). Her NSMO crew travelled to Marseille, whence the Blue Funnel ship Perseus repatriated them to the UK.[1]

German requisition and loss[]

Lua error in Module:Location_map at line 510: Unable to find the specified location map definition: "Module:Location map/data/Greece Peloponnese" does not exist. In 1941 German forces joined the North African Campaign to avert an Italian defeat. German authorities requisitioned all captured and sequestrated ships, including Sebastiano Veniero, and assigned them to a German shipping company, Mittelmeer Reederei GmbH (MMR) of Hamburg.[1]

On 9 December 1941 the ship was carrying about 2,000 UK and Dominion PoWs from North Africa to occupied Europe when the Royal Navy Grampus-class submarine HMS Porpoise torpedoed her off the south coast of the Peloponnese about 5 nautical miles (9 km) south of Pylos. Many of the PoWs were in her cargo holds, two of which were quickly flooded by the torpedo explosion. One source gives different figures for the total number of prisoners killed: either 300 or 450–500.[3]

Sebastiano Veniero had an escort ship, Tinos, from which a German officer took command of Sebastiano Veniero. He had the holds opened to release trapped PoWs and had the ship beached on Cape Methoni. Many PoWs jumped into the sea and took their chance to swim to the rocky shore. A South African lance corporal, Bernard Friedlander of the 3rd Batallion, Transvaal Scottish Regiment, swam ashore with a rope, which took him 90 minutes. The rope was then used to haul a cable ashore, which was made fast on land. Nearly 1,600 survivors then used the cable to reach safety.[3]

Sebastiano Veniero remained stranded at Methoni, and on 15 December the British T-class submarine HMS Torbay hit her with another torpedo.[3]

A German officer saw Friedlander's heroism on 9 December and recommended the lance corporal for a UK bravery award.[3] In July 1945 Friedlander was awarded the George Medal.[4] In 1947 King George VI toured South Africa, and at a ceremony in Johannesburg on 31 March personally decorated Friedlander with the medal.[3]

See also[]

Loreto, Nino Bixio and Scillin, Italian merchant ships sunk in similar circumstances, also killing many British and Empire PoWs.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 "Page Three". Joint British and Dutch Enterprise.. Retrieved 28 September 2014.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "MNO" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lettens, Jan (2 June 2013). "Jason MV (1940~1940) Sebastiano Veniero MV [+1941"]. WreckSite. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Lettens, Jan; de Neumann, Bernard (2 June 2013). "MV Sebastiano Veniero [+1941"]. WreckSite. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  4. "No. 37185". 20 July 1945. 

Coordinates: 36°49′N 21°42′E / 36.817°N 21.7°E / 36.817; 21.7

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