The Venezuela was a steel twin screw river steamer with one deck fitted with electric light, having a gross tonnage of 730. The 211ft 2ins (c.64m) long ship had a beam of 34ft 1ins (c.10m) and was powered by a twin triple expansion six cylinder engine with two single ended boilers and twin screws with 84 nominal horse power.
The Venezuela was sunk by a torpedo fired from UB-59 which was one of 96 UBIII type submarines.
UBIII submarines were coastal torpedo attack boats that carried 10 torpedoes, an 88mm deck gun with 160 rounds (they did not carry mines). UB-59 was commissioned on 25 August 1917 and undertook five patrols out of Flandern 1 Flotilla sinking five British, and four French vessels. Seven ships sank totalled 8,361 tons and two damaged ships totalled 12,413 tons. Erwin Wassner, the commander of UB-59 at the time of sinking the Venezuela, wrote in his war diary ‘During the night of 14 March at the Needles lighthouse, we successfully torpedoed and sunk an unknown steamer – at least 3000 tons – which was making for Southampton. The explosion was followed by a tongue off flame and then a second explosion. The ship sank at once’.
Qualification: Advanced Open Water and SMB or Equivalent.