Ships hit by U-boats

Desert Light

Panamanian Steam merchant

Desert Light under her former name Pandia

NameDesert Light
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage2,368 tons
Completed1903 - W. Gray & Co, West Hartlepool 
OwnerAlcoa SS Co, New York 
Date of attack16 Apr 1942Nationality:      Panamanian
FateSunk by U-572 (Heinz Hirsacker)
Position35° 35'N, 72° 48'W - Grid CA 8915
Complement31 (1 dead and 30 survivors).
RouteNew York - Bermuda 
Cargo3800 tons of supplies for the Naval Operating Base, including 104 tons of ammunition and dynamite 
History Built as Pandia A. Ralli 1922 renamed Nirefs 1926 renamed Diamando 1937 renamed Finnish Pandia for Arthur Karlsson, Mariehamn
In August 1941 registered in Panama. On 27 Dec 1941 seized by the US in New York on Executive Order, renamed Desert Light and allotted to the War Shipping Administration, which turned her over to Alcoa SS Co, New York for operation on 6 Feb 1942. 
Notes on event

At 18.00 hours on 16 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Desert Light (Master Charles B. Dunn) was hit by two torpedoes from U-572 on the starboard side amidships just forward of the boiler room. The explosion blew out the bottom plates and tore the side of the hull up to the deck. Extensive damage was done to the midship house and the bulkhead holding the coal bunkers was ruptured. The engine room and fireroom quickly flooded causing the ship to sink after one hour. One Fireman was killed. The survivors abandoned ship in the port lifeboat and the port raft, because the starboard boat had been destroyed. All survivors transferred to the boat and were picked up by the USS Roper (DD 147) on 23 April and were taken to Morehead City, North Carolina.

The master had to sign three crews before he could get one to sail the ship. The first two crews signed off after they learned that the ship was carrying explosives. The company found it necessary to get most of the third crew from Canada in order to take the ship to sea.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats