American Steam merchant
|Type:||Steam merchant (Liberty)|
|Completed||1942 - Oregon Shipbuilding Co, Portland OR|
|Owner||Lykes Bros SS Co Inc, New Orleans LA|
|Date of attack||18 Aug 1942||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-553 (Karl Thurmann)|
|Position||19° 41'N, 76° 50'W - Grid DM 9691|
|Complement||49 (0 dead and 49 survivors).|
|Route||Honolulu, Hawaii - Panama Canal - Guantanamo Bay - Philadelphia|
|Cargo||10.517 tons of sugar|
|History||Completed February 1942 |
|Notes on event|
At 09.13 hours on 18 Aug 1942, U-553 fired a spread of four bow torpedoes and one stern torpedo at the convoy TAW-13 about 95 miles west of Guantanamo Bay, observed three hits and reported three ships sunk. In fact, the Blankaholm was sunk by two torpedoes and the John Hancock by one.
Lookouts on the John Hancock (Master Levi Johnson Plesner) spotted a torpedo seconds before it struck on the port side between #2 and #3 holds. Both holds flooded rapidly, causing the ship to sink within five minutes. All eight officers, 30 crewmen and eleven armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in and four .30cal guns) abandoned ship in four lifeboats and were picked up after three hours by a British corvette and landed at Santiago, Cuba.
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