Completed 1938 as "DARONIA" for Anglo-Saxon. 20-8-1944 torpedoed and damaged by U861. Voyage Durban Abadan. 28-4-1958 damaged by air attack at Balik Papan. 1960 scrapped Hong Kong.

IMO number
Call sign
Construction number
12.139 ton
Length overall
Year of construction
Year of renaming/broken up
Service for Shell
1938 to 1960
Flag state
Home port




Date Visitor Anecdote
05/27/2009 - 12:14 Aad H.c.j. Born

As far as the ?Daronia? was concerned, since she was full of petrol, she had a miraculous escape. She was anchored about one third of a mile upwind of the ?San Flaviano? and was of the San Vito design, built many years before and equipped with unusually high mid-ship pump room ventilators. By the time she was attacked I was already swimming away from the ?San Flaviano? and vividly remember watching the bomb leave the aircraft, hit the port ventilator, bounce to the starboard ventilator and over the side of the ship without exploding. Some of the best photos of the demise of the ?San Flaviano?, were taken by a deck apprentice on the ?Daronia?.

At the time we were told the pilot was named Pope and flying out of Formosa (Taiwan), in support of an insurrection in the Celebes Islands, by which the Americans hoped to oust Sukarno. As an aside, at that time, no more than six Dutch people could congregate together at any one time, so when a party was held to celebrate the survival of the Captain and Mates the whole lot were arrested, before assurances of each individual's nationality allowed the party to continue !

best wishes - Bingham Macnamara.

Dave & Pat wrote:
Hi Bingham,

Thanks very much for your reply. I think the other ship was the ?DARONIA? not the TARONIA as reported by the US.
The US pilot of the bomber was not captured or executed as the article below states, he was killed in a plane crash in Laos in April 1962 whilst working for the CIA.

05/27/2009 - 12:11 Aad H.c.j. Born

Extract below is from the Shell Magazine

The Sinking of the ?SAN FLAVIANO?

Many readers will already have learnt form the national press of the bombing attack on ships in the harbour of Balikpapan on April 28th (1958). The 18000 ton s.t.s ?San Flaviano? was hit and set on fire, and the Shell tanker m/s ?Daronia? only avoided a similar fate because the bomb which struck her bounced 80 feet off the pump-room skylight and landed in the sea without exploding.

It was a great relief that there were no casualties in the ?San Flaviano?.
Everyone got away in two of the lifeboats within four minutes, and this must certainly be considered a miraculous escape; since the ship had nearly completed discharge and was full of crude oil gas.

The attack took place in the early morning.
The bombs struck the ship amidships on the starboard side, setting the whole of the main deck ablaze. It was against a background of a raging inferno, punctuated by explosions as tank after tank ignited, that the ship?s complement made their escape. The fire on the starboard side meant that only the port lifeboats, amidships and aft, were accessible. The amidships accommodation was completely cut off by flames from the after part of the ship, so the 38 crew members who were aft had to cram themselves into one boat; while the other boat took the seven who were amidships. ?What with that bit of warmth behind?, as Chief Officer Smith remarked, ?The lowering of the amidship?s boat seemed to take infinitely longer than the minute or so which it actually took?. The Second and Third Mates, together with the Apprentice MacNamara, after climbing through a port hole, ran up the sloping foredeck and shinned down the anchor cable to be rescued by the after lifeboat, already down to its gunwales. It can have been no easy matter getting into the boats as the ship was high out of the water, and listing to starboard, and some of the crew had to slide down the falls.

In the after accommodation Second Engineer Barford thought at first that the diesel generator had blown up, Junior Engineer Seddon didn?t realise that anything serious had happened for a minute or two, and he eventually had to jump for it and was picked up by one of the boats. Chief Engineer Wiberg set a splendid example of coolness and self-possession, calmly collecting some of his belongings and arriving in the boat with perfect equanimity.

Captain Bright rowed the amidship?s boat for all his might with his crew of six, including Mrs. Smith, wife of the Chief Officer, who also gallantly took an oar.

Twenty six of the crew sailed for Singapore aboard the ?Daronia?, the same day as the attack, while another 24 followed a few days later in m/s ?Dromus?. Both parties flying home by B.O.A.C Britannia.

As testify to the generous assistance and great kindness they received from the B.P.M staff at Balikpapan, and from the officers and crew of the ships that took them to Singapore. At Singapore they were very well treated for by Shell Tankers Ltd., who helped them to make good some of their losses and to buy some clothes.

We hope that all those who are now safely home are enjoying a good rest after their nerve-racking experience. Captain Bright and Chief Engineer Wilberg, together with five other senior personnel, are still left at Balikpapan, but we hope it won?t be long before they can be flown home.

The last report we have received of the ?San Flaviano? is that she is lying almost entirely submersed on the west side of the entrance of Balikpapan Harbour, out of the navigating channel.

Source: Reprinted from Shell Magazine June 1958