American Steam tanker
|Completed||1916 - Union Iron Works, San Francisco CA|
|Owner||Socony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York|
|Date of attack||2 Dec 1941||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-43 (Wolfgang Lüth)|
|Position||35° 40'N, 24° 00'W - Grid CF 7588|
|Complement||37 (37 dead - no survivors)|
|Route||Aruba - Lisbon, Portugal|
|Cargo||78200 bbls of gasoline and kerosene|
|Notes on event|
The neutrally marked Astral (Master Chris Alsager) was reported missing after 2 Dec 1941.
At 17.00 hours on 1 December, U-575 (Heydemann) spotted the unescorted and unarmed tanker and tracked her until 20.57 hours. Then Heydemann noticed the painted American flag on the side and let her go. Also about 17.00 hours, U-43 spotted the tanker, followed her and missed with a first torpedo shot at 24.00 hours. The torpedo must have been seen by someone on the Astral, because she immediately began steaming a zigzag course at full speed to escape. The U-boat followed throughout the full moon night. At 09.24 hours on 2 December, the tanker was hit by two torpedoes, one in the stern and one amidships. The Astral exploded into flames and sank within minutes. The flaming cargo in the water burned for an hour longer. No survivors among the eight officers and 29 men on board.
|On board||We have details of 37 people who were on board.|
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