Ships hit by U-boats

China Arrow

American Steam tanker

NameChina Arrow
Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage8,403 tons
Completed1920 - Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, Quincy MA 
OwnerSocony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack5 Feb 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-103 (Werner Winter)
Position37° 44'N, 73° 18'W - Grid CA 5868
Complement37 (0 dead and 37 survivors).
RouteBeaumont, Texas - New York 
Cargo81.773 barrels of fuel oil 
Notes on event

At 18.08 hours on 5 Feb 1942 the unescorted and unarmed China Arrow (Master Paul Hoffman Browne) was hit by two torpedoes from U-103, while running on a zigzag course and blacked out off Winter Quarter Shoals. The first struck the starboard side between the #8 and #9 tanks, the other between tanks #9 and #10. The explosion blew fuel oil 125 feet into the air and over the length of the vessel. Fire immediately broke out in these tanks. The live steam firefighting equipment smothered the blaze in tanks #9 and #10 but could not put out the fire in the #8 tank. The nine officers and 28 crewmen on board abandoned ship in three lifeboats 25 minutes after the hits.
The U-boat surfaced and fired 15 to 20 shells into the waterline of the burning tanker, which sank by the stern at 19.30 hours. The men in the lifeboats were spotted by a US Navy aircraft 57 hours after the attack. A Catalina flying boat of the US Coast Guard landed near the boats and the men were later picked up by the US Coast Guard cutter USS Nike (WPC 112), which took them to the Coast Guard Station in Lewes, Delaware.

On boardWe have details of 3 people who were on board

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