American Steam merchant
|Completed||1919 - Northwest Steel Co, Portland OR|
|Owner||American Export Lines Inc, New York|
|Date of attack||19 Aug 1942||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-162 (Jürgen Wattenberg)|
|Position||11° 45'N, 62° 30'W - Grid ED 9467|
|Complement||44 (1 dead and 43 survivors).|
|Route||Calcutta - Colombo - Trinidad (18 Aug) - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - Boston|
|Cargo||6975 tons of general cargo, including 4500 tons of manganese ore, 650 tons of mica, 228 tons of rubber and 250 monkeys on the boat deck|
|History||Built for US Maritime Commission, Washington DC, later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. |
|Notes on event|
At 04.37 hours on 19 Aug 1942 the unarmed West Celina (Master Bernard V. Mirkin), ship of the convoy commodore in TAW(S), was hit on the port side at #2 hold by a torpedo from U-162 about 95 miles northeast of Margarita Island, Venezuela. The explosion blew the hatch cover off and destroyed the port wing of the bridge. After the engines were secured, the most of the eight officers, 31 crewmen and five naval staff members abandoned ship in lifeboats. Twelve men remained aboard, were later joined by five men that returned to the ship and restarted the engines about one and a half hour after the first attack. At 06.35 hours, a second torpedo struck on the starboard side at #3 hold and caused the ship to sink by the bow within three minutes. The convoy commodore was lost. The survivors had abandoned ship in three lifeboats and two rafts, but the men on the rafts were taken aboard the boats before they headed for land. 19 survivors in one boat landed after three days near Porlamar on Margarita Island. The 24 survivors in the other two boats hade made landfall near the same place the day before. On 1 September, the survivors were landed by the Venezuelan steam merchant Maracaibo at Port of Spain, Trinidad and were repatriated to Baltimore aboard the American stores ship USS Tarazed (AF 13).
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