SS Aztec

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SS Aztec was an American Cargo ship during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[1] On 1 April 1917 she was torpedoed by German submarine SM U-46 off of the northwest coast of France.[2][3]

Flag of the United StatesUnited States
NameSS Aztec
OwnerPacific Mail Steamship Company
Port of registry104837
BuilderEdwards & Sons Shipbuilding Co
In service1894–1917
FateSunk by SM U-46 in 1917
General characteristics
TypeCargo Ship
Tonnage3727 grt
Propulsion1 x 3-cyl. triple expansion engine, single shaft, 1 screw


SS Aztec was built in 1894 by Edwards & Sons Shipbuilding Co in Howdon-On-Tyone at the request of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.[4] She ran regular routes between San Francisco, Honolulu, and Shanghai.[5][6] She departed New York City in March 1917 with a cargo of copper, steel, lumber, machinery and chemicals bound for the port of Le Havre.[4] On 1 April 1917 she was torpedoed off the coast of Ushant in France by the German Uboat SM U-46. 28 passengers were killed, including 10 American crew members. News of her sinking was relayed to Washington by the American embassy in Paris on 2 April, followed by a secondary report on the sinking on 4 April. The news of the torpedoing of the Aztec was passed on to the United States Congress as deliberations were ongoing as to the declaration for war on Germany, as President Woodrow Wilson had asked congress to declare war on Germany on 2 April.[7]

To commemorate the centennial of Aztec's sinking, the Hawaii World War I Centennial Task Force held a ceremony for the lost crew of the ship on 3 April 2017.[8]


  1. ^ "U.S. Merchant Ships, Sailing Vessels, and Fishing Craft lost, captured, or damaged during World War I". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  2. ^ Helgason, Guðmundur. "Ships hit by U 46". German and Austrian U-boats of World War I – Kaiserliche Marine –
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b "WRECKSITE – AZTEC CARGO SHIP 1894–1917". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  5. ^ "The Great War – Now It's Personal | Elks Lodge 616". Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Remember the Aztec! Remember Hawaii's Role in World War I".
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Remember the Aztec! Remember Hawaii's Role in World War I". Retrieved 4 June 2018.