USS Nereus (AC-10)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Nereus.
Nereus loads coal at Nagasaki, Japan in April 1916
Name: USS Nereus
Namesake: Nereus
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company
Laid down: 4 December 1911
Launched: 26 April 1913
Commissioned: 10 September 1913
Decommissioned: 30 June 1922
Struck: 5 December 1940
  • Sold, 27 February 1941
  • Lost at sea, December 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Proteus-class collier
Displacement: 19,360 long tons (19,670 t) (full load)
Length: 542 ft (165 m)
Beam: 65 ft (20 m)
Draft: 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)
Speed: 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
Complement: 236 officers and enlisted

USS Nereus (AC-10) was one of four Proteus-class colliers built for the United States Navy before World War I. Named for Nereus, an aquatic deity from Greek mythology, she was the second U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name. Nereus was laid down on 4 December 1911, and launched on 26 April 1913 by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia, and commissioned on 10 September 1913.

Service history

Detached from Naval Overseas Transportation Service on 12 September 1919, Nereus served with the Atlantic Fleet until decommissioned at Norfolk on 30 June 1922. She was laid up there until struck from the Navy List on 5 December 1940. Sold to the Aluminium Company of Canada on 27 February 1941, Nereus operated out of Montreal carrying bauxite from the Caribbean to aluminum plants in the United States and Canada. Her master (commanding officer) was John Thomas Bennett of the Canadian Merchant Navy.


Nereus was lost at sea sometime after 10 December 1941 while steaming from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands (along the same route where her sister ship, Cyclops, had disappeared) with ore destined to make aluminum for Allied aircraft. Nereus was presumed sunk after being torpedoed by a German U-boat. However, there are no German U-boat claims for this vessel.[1]

The wreckage has never been located nor the actual cause of her disappearance determined.[2] A memorial listing for her crew can be found on the CWGC Halifax memorial.[3]

The initial presumption of the cause of her loss was that she was sunk by a German U-boat. No direct evidence, however, has been found to support this theory. The website] lists neither the Nereus nor the Proteus among the ships known to have been sunk by U-boats.

A Canadian website suggests Nereus's possible fate.[4] The website states that Rear Admiral George van Deurs, USN researched the losses of the Nereus and her sister ship Proteus and came to the conclusion that the colliers broke up in heavy seas following a storm. A contributing factor may have been that, as observed in other colliers of this type, the acidic coal they had carried had seriously eroded the ships' longitudinal support beams, thereby, making them extremely vulnerable to breakage under stress.

Another theory is that the vessel's disappearance can be attributed to the Bermuda Triangle.[5]


  1. forum
  2. Canadian Merchant Ship Losses of the Second World War, 1939-1945
  3. Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  4. Canadian Merchant Ship Losses of the Second World War, 1939-1945
  5. Eyers, Jonathan (2011). Don't Shoot the Albatross!: Nautical Myths and Superstitions. A&C Black, London, UK. ISBN 978-1-4081-3131-2.

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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