British Motor tanker
|Completed||1941 - Cammell Laird & Co Ltd, Birkenhead|
|Owner||Andrew Weir & Co, London|
|Date of attack||24 Mar 1942||Nationality: British|
|Fate||Sunk by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen)|
|Position||37.45N, 63.17W - Grid CB 8173|
|Complement||47 (39 dead and 8 survivors).|
|Route||Baton Rouge (13 Mar) - Halifax - UK|
|Cargo||11.000 tons of aviation spirit and kerosene|
|History||Completed in March 1941 for Ministry of War Transport (MoWT) |
|Notes on event|
At 03.01 hours on 24 Mar, 1942, the unescorted Empire Steel (Master William John Gray) was hit by two torpedoes from U-123 and caught fire after the cargo exploded. The U-boat had spotted the zigzagging tanker about 5 hours earlier and at 01.57 hours made a first attack that became a complete failure because the G7a torpedo fired became a tube runner and due to a misunderstanding a stern torpedo was fired without being aimed. After 40 minutes the U-boat fired nine rounds from the deck gun at the burning wreck which later capsized port and sank northeast of Bermuda. 35 crew members and four gunners were lost. The master, six crew members and one gunner were picked up by the American tug Edmund J. Moran (towing the Robert E. Lee) and landed at Norfolk, Virginia.
|On board||We have details of 40 people who were on board.|
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