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The S.S. Ohio that saved the Maltese from capitulation during WWII made it to Malta barely afloat on the 15th of August 1942. Historical literature provides three main hypotheses as to why the tanker did not sink under heavy attack, namely: the use of water pumps partially restored buoyancy, the cargo density and a strong fully welded hull. A stability, floodable length and residual strength analysis was conducted to confirm or disprove the hypotheses. The results indicated that the vessel was stable, the water pumps partially restored buoyancy and was sinking despite her welded structure and cargo on-board. A challenge was to draw a comparison between the results and applicable criteria. At the time, criteria only governed the ship’s scantlings and did not focus on stability, floodable length and residual strength. The research provided engineering evidence on how the S.S. Ohio survived, whilst contemporary criteria were identified to assess the tanker’s characteristics.