R-12 (Lt. Cdr. E.E. Shelby) was lost between 1220 and 1225 on 12 June 1943 at Latitude 24°24’30” North and Longitude 81°31’30” West in 600 feet of water with the loss of 42 lives. The personnel on the bridge, two officers, including the Commanding Officer, and three enlisted men were the only survivors. Those missing consisted of fours U.S. Naval officers, two Brazilian Naval officers, and thirty-six U.S. Naval enlisted men.
At the time of the accident, R-12 was engaged in normal operations off
It was the opinion of the Court of Inquiry that the cause of the loss of R-12 was unknown but probably was the rapid flooding of the forward part of the ship through a torpedo tube.
In 2011 an expedition team aboard the RV Tiburon located and documented the wreck of the USS R-12. Further work is planned for 2012.