Vale do Itajai University

Sunk WWII German U-Boat off Brazil

Discoverer of the U-513

From Hydro International

The remains of the German submarine U-513 have been discovered off the coast of Brazil. The sub was sunk by bombs dropped from an American plane in July 1943.

Only seven of the 53 men on board survived the attack. Researchers from Kat Schurmann Institute and Vale do Itajai University located the U-513 almost 68 years to the day after it sank.

On 14th July 2011 the side-scan produced definitive images of the remains of a pressure hull on the ocean bottom. The final resting place of the U-513 had been uncovered.

Although Brazil had been technically neutral at the beginning of the war, it allowed the US to establish air bases from which it could launch attacks on submarines that were becoming a serious threat to allied shipping. As a result, Brazilian ships became a prime target for the U-boats.

During the first half of 1942, German subs sank 13 Brazilian merchant vessels. In August, the U-507 sank 5 Brazilian ships in two days killing more than 600 people.

In all, 21 German and two Italian submarines were responsible for the sinking of 36 Brazilian merchant ships, causing 1,691 drownings and 1,079 other casualties. The sinkings were a major reason the Brazilian government ultimately declared war against the Axis. 

The 252 foot long submarine was discovered lying at a depth of 245 feet, 75 miles off the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

The family had procured a JW Fishers side scan system shortly after opening the institute, an organization that was devoted to fostering sustainability and preservation of the oceans and coastal habitats. The primary use for the sonar was to map the reef structures off the Brazilian coast.

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