Ships hit by U-boats


Greek Motor merchant

Maro under her former name Gisla. Photo courtesy of Steinar Norheim

Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage3,838 tons
Completed1924 - Odense Staalskibsværft ved A.P. Møller, Odense 
OwnerYannoulatos Brothers (China), Athens 
Date of attack20 Jan 1942Nationality:      Greek
FateSunk by U-552 (Erich Topp)
Position46° 27'N, 39° 55'W - Grid BC 6911
Complement29 (29 dead - no survivors)
ConvoyON-53 (straggler)
RouteGarston (2 Jan) - Halifax 
CargoSoda Ash 
History Completed in April 1924 as Norwegian Gisla for D/S A/S Avenir (Biørn Biørnstad & Co), Kristiania. On 21 February 1936 caught fire and sank while unloading nitrate at Baltimore. The ship was raised and sold for scrapping, but later repaired. 1938 sold to Greece and renamed Hellenic Pioneer for Yannoulatos Brothers (China), Argostoli. 1939 renamed Maro Y. for the same owner and 1940 changed to Maro
Notes on event

At 16.48 hours on 20 January 1942, U-552 spotted the unescorted Maro about 525 miles west of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The vessel had been in convoy ON-53, which was scattered in gale on 12 January and was straggling thereafter. Uncertain of her nationality the U-boat surfaced at 17.30 hours and ordered the ship to stop by signal lamp. However, the answer was illegible and the ship did not stop until a round from the 20mm anti-aircraft gun was fired over the bridge. Her master approached the U-boat in a lifeboat to be questioned and the Germans told him that they will sink the ship after learning that it is Greek. At 18.50 hours, the U-boat opened fire with the deck gun after the crew had left the Maro and fired 126 rounds until the ship sank in flames at 19.45 hours. The lifeboats were never seen again: the master, 26 crew members and two gunners were lost.

On boardWe have details of 29 people who were on board

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