American Steam merchant
|Completed||1920 - South Western Shipbuilding Co, San Pedro CA|
|Owner||Moore-McCormack Lines Inc, New York NY|
|Date of attack||1 Jun 1942||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-404 (Otto von Bülow)|
|Position||34° 10'N, 68° 20'W - Grid DC 3212|
|Complement||40 (4 dead and 36 survivors).|
|Route||Bahia Blanca, Argentina - Port of Spain, Trinidad - New York|
|Cargo||7400 tons of flax seed|
|History||Completed in July 1920 for US Shipping Board (USSB) |
|Notes on event|
At 12.22 hours on 1 June 1942 the unescorted West Notus (Master Hans Gerner) was attacked with gunfire by U-404 while steaming on a nonevasive course at 10 knots about 320 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The U-boat followed the ship and fired about 50 high explosive and incendiary shells from a distance of about two miles for 45 minutes, scoring about 20 hits all over the vessel. The radio was destroyed before a distress signal could be sent and when the steering was disabled the ship began to circle, so the crew had to secure the engines. The master, two officers and the radio operator were killed. The armed guards fired the machine guns and seven rounds from the stern gun and slightly damaged the U-boat, forcing the Germans to cease fire for repairs.
About 14.00 hours, the surviving men of the eight officers, 27 crewmen and five armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and four .30cal guns) aboard abandoned the burning ship in two lifeboats. The Germans questioned the survivors in one of the boats, provided Perrier mineral water bottles and gave the course towards Cape Hatteras. At 22.30 hours, the U-boat fired another six high explosive shells into the ship but she still remained afloat, so a boarding party was sent on board and scuttling charges were placed at 01.30 and 14.00 hours the next day. At 14.07 hours, they exploded but the ship only settled slowly and the U-boat finally left the ship in a sinking condition at 20.00 hours.
18 survivors in one lifeboat were picked up after two days by the Greek steam merchant Constantinos H. and landed at Bermuda on 5 June. The remaining 18 survivors in the other boat were picked up after three days by the Swiss steam merchant Saentis and landed at New York on 5 June.
|On board||We have details of 5 people who were on board.|
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