She’s in front of the High Rise area, she’s not visited often, she’s German and she always has to compete with her larger, older and more popular countrywoman Antilla and therefore you could think of her as the Cinderella of the Aruban shipwrecks. Her name: Star Gerren.
The Star Gerren was built at J.L. Meyer Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and launched on September 22, 1965. The 499 tons cargoship measures 73.49 mtrs/245 ft in length and was named Santa Maria. The first owners were Hermann & Engelbert Lohmann from Haren in Germany. Between 1965 and 1994 she changed owners four times and from 1985 she was named Anna Maria. In 1991 her name was changed back to Santa Maria again. Between 1965 and 1994 she sailed under German, Singaporean and Honduran flag. In 1994 the Santa Maria was sold to the Valeron Corporation N.V in Curacao. She was renamed Star Gerren and registered at home port Belize City, Belize.
(Picture courtesy of F.J. Olinga – Delfzijl)
On July 12, 1996, as the Star Gerren (call sign V3PK) was in the coastal waters of Aruba, captain Blackman reported having engine trouble to the Aruban Authorities. Not long after the first message of the captain however it looked like the crew of the Star Gerren had managed to overcome her engine problems and was able to continue her journey. The optimism of the captain was short lived: not long after the second report the five man crew was confronted with engine failure beyond repair. The Aruba Ports Authority responded by sending a tugboat to the Star Gerren to tow her into the harbor but bad luck seemed to accompany the captain of the Star Gerren. During the attempt to salvage the Star Gerren one of the hawsers got entangled in the propeller of the tugboat which had to limp back to the harbor. Eventually the Star Gerren was salvaged on July 15 and berthed in Barcadera harbor on July 16, 1996. Not long after being towed into Barcadera harbor the crew, due to the deplorable state of the ship, abandoned her.
(Star Gerren sinking – pictures courtesy of Aruba Ports Authority)
Attempts to contact the owner of the ship failed and the Star Gerren remained in Barcadera harbor until August 2000. In July and August 2000 the Star Gerren was reported to list to starboard due to leakage thus turning it into an environmental hazard. These events speeded up the decision to convert the ship into a dive object for scuba divers. On August 31, 2000 the Star Gerren was towed to a location in front of the High Rise hotel area (Palm Beach) where she was sunk in 21 mtrs/70 ft of water.
(More background information on other (WW II) wrecks in Aruba can be found at http://willemsubmerged.wordpress.com/)