The Naeco is a 412 foot long tanker that is in 140 feet of water. The bow and the stern section of the ship are about two miles apart. About 38 miles south of the Beaufort Inlet, it usually takes about two and a half hours to reach this dive site after leaving the inlet. The high part of this wreck is at 120 feet.
During the summer, the water temperature ranges from the upper 70's to the low 80's. Visibility averages 70 feet, but can get up to over 100 feet. The ship rests on a nice sandy bottom. Sheephead, grouper, pompano, snapper, triggerfish, tropical fish and spadefish frequent his wreck.
The Naeco was originally named the Charles M. Everest and carried a cargo of kerosene, heating oil, and gasoline from Texas to New Jersey. Naeco is "ocean" spelled backwards. In March of 1942, Captain Emil H. Engelbrecht and his crew of 37 left Houston with a cargo of heating oil and kerosene bound for New Jersey. On March 23, 1942, the Naeco was headed towards Cape Lookout. Even though the Naeco was alone on the surface of the water, she had company below the surface, the U-124. Korvettekapitan Erich Mohr had been following the Naeco hoping to add to his tonnage sunk. The U-124 took aim and fired a single torpedo into the starboard side of the Naeco, just forward of amidships. The torpedo set the fuel oil on fire and soon everything forward of amidships was on fire.
All of the lifeboats forward of amidships were destroyed. The No. 3 and 4 lifeboats were undamaged. The ship was still moving at 14 knots when the No. 4 lifeboat was lowered to the water and was immediately swamped. The four men in the lifeboat were thrown into the water. One found a raft floating nearby and climbed into it, one swam back to the ship, and two kept swimming. The chief engineer shut the engines down and ten minutes later, the Naeco was moving slowly enough to lower ten men in the No. 3 lifeboat.
Four hours after the attack, the Coast Guard cutter Dione picked up the two men swimming in the water and the crew aboard the No. 3 lifeboat. The USS Umpqua picked up the crewman that swam back to the ship and the USS Osprey picked up the crewman that was in the raft. An hour after the rescues, the Naeco broke into two sections and slid beneath the surface. There were fourteen survivors and 24 men were lost.