Panamanian Steam merchant
|Completed||1903 - W. Gray & Co, West Hartlepool|
|Owner||Alcoa SS Co, New York|
|Date of attack||16 Apr 1942||Nationality: Panamanian|
|Fate||Sunk by U-572 (Heinz Hirsacker)|
|Position||35° 35'N, 72° 48'W - Grid CA 8915|
|Complement||31 (1 dead and 30 survivors).|
|Route||New York - Bermuda|
|Cargo||3800 tons of supplies for the Naval Operating Base, including 104 tons of ammunition and dynamite|
|History||Built as Pandia A. Ralli 1922 renamed Nirefs 1926 renamed Diamando 1937 renamed Finnish Pandia for Arthur Karlsson, Mariehamn|
In August 1941 registered in Panama. On 27 Dec 1941 seized by the US in New York on Executive Order, renamed Desert Light and allotted to the War Shipping Administration, which turned her over to Alcoa SS Co, New York for operation on 6 Feb 1942.
|Notes on event|
At 18.00 hours on 16 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Desert Light (Master Charles B. Dunn) was hit by two torpedoes from U-572 on the starboard side amidships just forward of the boiler room. The explosion blew out the bottom plates and tore the side of the hull up to the deck. Extensive damage was done to the midship house and the bulkhead holding the coal bunkers was ruptured. The engine room and fireroom quickly flooded causing the ship to sink after one hour. One Fireman was killed. The survivors abandoned ship in the port lifeboat and the port raft, because the starboard boat had been destroyed. All survivors transferred to the boat and were picked up by the USS Roper (DD 147) on 23 April and were taken to Morehead City, North Carolina.
The master had to sign three crews before he could get one to sail the ship. The first two crews signed off after they learned that the ship was carrying explosives. The company found it necessary to get most of the third crew from Canada in order to take the ship to sea.
|On board||We have details of 2 people who were on board.|
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