American Steam tanker
|Completed||1921 - Moore Shipbuilding Co, Oakland CA|
|Owner||Standard Oil Co of New Jersey, New York|
|Date of attack||3 Jun 1942||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-502 (Jürgen von Rosenstiel)|
|Position||12° 04'N, 63° 49'W - Grid ED 6892|
|Complement||45 (13 dead and 32 survivors).|
|Route||Newport News (19 May) - Trinidad - Caripito, Venezuela|
|Cargo||Water ballast in tanks #2, #4, #6 and #8|
|Notes on event|
At 21.56 hours on 3 June 1942 the unescorted M.F. Elliott (Master Harold I. Cook) was torpedoed by U-502 about 150 miles northwest of Trinidad, while proceeding on a zigzag course at 10 knots. The ship had left Newport News in a convoy, left it off the Florida Keys and proceeded for some time together with the C.O. Stillman, which was sunk on 6 June by U-68 (Merten).
One torpedo struck the starboard quarter of the M.F. Elliott well below the waterline. The explosion destroyed the fuel bunker and the fireroom and sprayed fuel oil over the surface of the sea, but did not catch fire. A distress signal was sent to a US Navy PBY aircraft seen earlier in the day. The tanker listed to starboard, settled by the stern and plunged bow up within six minutes. The eight officers, 30 crewmen and seven armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, one 3in, two .50cal and two .30cal guns) tried to abandon ship in three lifeboats, but all capsized because the ship sank fast. Four officers and nine crewmen were lost, seven in the explosion and six drowned. The survivors swam to four rafts that had floated free and the PBY remained in contact with them throughout the night. 27 survivors were picked up at dawn the next day by the American destroyer USS Tarbell (DD 142) and later pulled three others from the water before landing them at Port of Spain.
|On board||We have details of 45 people who were on board.|
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