American Steam merchant
|Completed||1921 - Federal Shipbuilding Co, Kearny NJ|
|Owner||Isthmian SS Co, New York|
|Date of attack||19 Oct 1942||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-610 (Walter Freiherr von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen)|
|Position||49° 45'N, 31° 20'W - Grid BD 2862|
|Complement||52 (36 dead and 16 survivors).|
|Route||Liverpool (9 Oct) - New York|
|Cargo||2000 tons of sand ballast|
|History||Completed in December 1921 |
|Notes on event|
At 19.46 hours on 19 Oct 1942 the Steel Navigator (Master Lars Jorgensen), a straggler from convoy ON-137, was torpedoed by U-610. The ship had been straggling since 17 October because the master feared a collision during foggy weather and was not able to find the convoy again due to a raging storm that caused the sand ballast to shift. She developed a 40° list, but the crew managed with the help of the armed guards to correct it to 12°.
The eight officers, 28 crewmen and 16 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in and four 20mm guns) tried to abandon ship in two lifeboats and the motor boat, but the latter and one of the lifeboats swamped throwing their occupants into the sea, injuring five men fatally. The master and 17 of these men climbed onto rafts while others were picked up by the second lifeboat that was launched successfully. The Germans questioned the survivors in the boat before leaving the area. The 27 survivors in the boat managed to right the other lifeboat during the night and transferred ten men to it. The storm continued and separated the boats. Two officers, eight crewmen and six armed guards were picked up by HMS Decoy (H 75) (LtCdr G.I.M. Balfour, RN) seven days later after one other man having died in their boat. The survivors were so badly weakened that they were hospitalized for three weeks after being landed at Gourock. They were later repatriated on the British liner Queen Elizabeth, arriving on 10 December at Halifax and travelling to New York by train. Nothing was ever heard of the other boat, the rafts or the men aboard them.
|On board||We have details of 38 people who were on board.|
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