Sunken ship gets historical landmark
By Mike Reddell
Bay City Tribune, Published February 3, 2010
Matagorda County's newest state historical
landmark recognizes and protects a ship sunk by a German U-boat off
Matagorda Peninsula in the early months of World War II.
The landmark is in the Gulf of Mexico, 7.7 miles off Matagorda
Peninsula, where the Mexican freighter Oaxaca was sunk by a single
torpedo from the German submarine U-171 in the early-morning hours
of July 26, 1942.
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) approved Oaxaca's landmark
designation. A hearing in Austin Friday affirming THC's decision
last fall to accept the landmark's nomination was attended by Craig
Hlavinka, representing Matagorda County Historical Commission (MCHC).
Unlike Matagorda County's numerous other state historical landmarks,
the Oaxaca won't have the customary Texas Historical Commission
metal marker or any other marker for that matter, Hlavinka said
The landmark designation was sought under the Texas Antiquities Code
to protect the sunken ship that lies in two pieces under 65 feet of
water, added Hlavinka, chairman of the MCHC archeology and marine
"It protects the site" that is within Matagorda County boundaries,
he said. "It's really a big coral reef. People can dive to it, but
not alter anything." It has proven to be a popular dive site in
In the state archeological landmark nomination, it was noted that
the Oaxaca was the only vessel sunk by an enemy submarine off the
"As such, it is a significant reminder of that period in our past
when our coast was considered vulnerable to enemy attack and special
precautions were taken all along the coast to prevent such attack,"
the nomination reads.