Panamanian Steam merchant
|Completed||1919 - Northwest Steel Co, Portland OR|
|Owner||North Atlantic Transport Co Inc (US Lines Inc), Panama|
|Date of attack||14 Jan 1942||Nationality: Panamanian|
|Fate||Sunk by U-43 (Wolfgang Lüth)|
|Position||58° 30'N, 19° 40'W - Grid AL 2659|
|Complement||38 (17 dead and 21 survivors).|
|Route||Liverpool – Gourock (9 Jan) - Boston - New York|
|Cargo||1769 tons of general cargo, 150 tons of sand ballast on after deck and 820 bags of mail|
|History||Completed in October 1919 as West Pocasset for US Shipping Board (USSB) and later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1941 renamed Chepo and registered in Panama. |
|Notes on event|
At 04.53 hours on 14 Jan 1942 the unarmed Chepo (Master Hezekiah Spurrell) in station #53 of convoy ON-55 was hit on starboard side aft by one torpedo from U-43 while steaming at 8.5 knots on a non-evasive course about 230 miles west-northwest of Rockall. The explosion blew the hatch covers off and collapsed the aft mast, bringing the aerial down and preventing that distress signals could be sent. None of the 16 men accommodated in the poop quarters survived the sinking and were presumably either killed by the explosion or trapped. As the ship was quickly settling by the stern, the surviving crew members abandoned ship in both starboard lifeboats and one raft, except the master who refused to leave and was lost when Chepo sank vertically by the stern about 10 minutes after the hit. At 05.50 hours, HMS Sunflower (K 41) (LtCdr J.T. Jones, RNR) began to pick up the survivors in a dangerous and difficult rescue operation in moderate seas, a heavy swell and reduced visibility due to rain squalls.
|On board||We have details of 8 people who were on board.|
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