What happens to the S.S. Empire Tern in The Cay?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The S.S. Empire Tern is British oil tanker harbored in Willemstad. It was being filled with fuel and would soon head back across the Atlantic to deliver its load on the English coast for use by the Royal Air Force. Phillip went with his father to the Schottegat to see the ship, "one of the few armed ships in the harbor." Later that day, the two witnessed the ship leaving port as it "steamed slowly down St. Anna Bay." Sailors on board flashed the "V-for-Victory sign," and the civilians on shore waved back. Suddenly, "there was an explosion and we looked out to sea. The Empire Tern had vanished..." It had been sunk with no survivors by a German submarine, a U-boat, which "surfaced now to watch the ship die."