Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage8,206 tons
Completed1921 - Northwest Bridge & Iron Co, Portland OR 
OwnerMarine Transport Lines Inc, New York 
Date of attack19 Jan 1942Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen)
Position35° 25'N, 75° 23'W - Grid CA 7938
Complement34 (5 dead and 29 survivors).
RoutePhiladelphia (18 Jan) - Port Arthur, Texas 
CargoWater ballast 
History Completed in June 1921 as Swiftwind for Boat Owning & Operating Co (C.D. Mallory & Co Inc), Wilmington DE. 1933 renamed Malay for Marine Transport Lines Inc, New York.

1948 renamed Loideste for Aegean Shipping Co (Embiricos), London. 1950 renamed Astra for the same owner. 1951 sold to Greece and renamed Troy for Alexander S. Onassis. Broken up at Hamburg in August 1955.

Notes on event

At 10.34 hours on 19 Jan 1942 the unarmed Malay (Master John M. Dodge) was shelled by U-123 off Oregon Inlet, while steaming as leading ship in an unescorted convoy of five ships with dim navigational lights set. Hardegen underestimated the size of the tanker and decided to attack with the deck gun to save torpedoes. The U-boat fired ten shots from astern of which five or six struck from about 650 metres. The shelling fatally wounded one man, destroyed two lifeboats, damaged the bridge and crew´s quarter and started a fire on board.

Then the U-boat left to chase another ship of the group and finally torpedoed the Ciltvaira at 12.01 hours. While doing this Hardegen heard the radio messages from Malay and realized the size and importance of this target and returned to the tanker. In the meantime the passing Scania helped the crew of Malay by handing over firefighting equipment. The eight officers and 26 crewmen got the fire under control and the ship under way. When U-123 found the damaged tanker again they noticed the stopped British steam merchant City of Delhi nearby which was recovering on of her lifeboats. Hardegen had only one torpedo left and he decided to chase the tanker instead of attacking the easy target because it was more valuable. At 12.44 hours, the torpedo struck Malay in the #7 starboard side tank, just aft of amidships in 35°40N/75°20W. The crew abandoned ship in three lifeboats, but one capsized and four men drowned. The survivors circled the ship for about an hour before reboarding her. One dead man and three badly injured were later taken off by boats from the Chicamacomico US Coast Guard Station. The Malay reached Hampton Roads, Virginia under own power the same day. She was repaired and returned to service.

On boardWe have details of 6 people who were on board

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