ARA Comodoro Somellera (A-10)

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United States
Name: Catawba
Launched: 15 February 1945
Commissioned: 1945
Decommissioned: 1972
Fate: transferred to Argentine Navy, 1972
Struck: 1 February 1972
Name: Comodoro Somellera
Acquired: 10 February 1972
Commissioned: 10 February 1972
Out of service: 1998
Fate: sunk during storm in Port of Ushuaia, hull recovered and scrapped
General characteristics
Displacement: 835 tons (848 t) (full)
Length: 143 ft (44 m)
Beam: 33 ft 10 in (10.31 m)
Draft: 13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)
  • Diesel-electric engines,
  • 1,500 shp (1,100 kW) single screw
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 45–49

The ARA Comodoro Somellera (A-10) was a Sotoyomo-class rescue tug that served in the Argentine Navy from 1972 to 1998 classified as aviso. She previously served in the US Navy as USS Catawba (ATA-210) from 1945 to 1972.

US Navy service[edit]

Catawba was laid down as ATR-137 at Gulfport Boiler & Welding Works shipyard in Port Arthur, Texas reclassified ATA-210 on 15 May 1944, launched 15 February 1945 and commissioned by the US Navy 18 April 1945. In 1959 she served in Operation Inland Seas. She was decommissioned on 1972 and transferred to the Argentine Navy.

Argentine service[edit]

Antonio Somellera

The ship was named after Commodore Antonio Somellera, who joined the Argentine Navy in 1828 with his Brigantine General Rondeau to fight in the Cisplatine War. She was acquired in 1972 along with her sister ship ARA Alferez Sobral (A-9), departing together from Mayport, Florida on 6 March 1972 and arriving at Puerto Belgrano on 18 April.

Both ships served during the 1982 Falklands War where they were involved in a confused episode. The British claimed to have sunk the Somellera with Sea Skua missile[1] but this claim was subsequently dropped when the British evaluated wartime claims after the war. Somellera spent the period of the war in the opening of the Strait of Magellan. From 1988 she was assigned to the Ushuaia naval base until 1995, when she was transferred back to Puerto Belgrano.

In 1997, she participated on Operacion Calypso, an attempt to find Nazi Germany's submarines sunk in the Patagonian coast.[2]

The ship continued to serve in the Argentine navy until 19 August 1998 when, after finishing an exercise with the Chilean Navy, she sank in the port of Ushuaia during a storm following a collision with the patrol tug ARA Suboficial Castillo.[3][4]

The ship was later refloated,[5] but the hull was considered too old to be repaired and was finally retired from the naval service.