Ships hit by U-boats


Brazilian Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Peabody and Essex Museum, Salem MA

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage7,874 tons
Completed1917 - Union Iron Works, San Francisco CA 
OwnerPedro Brandão, Rio de Janeiro 
HomeportRio de Janeiro 
Date of attack7 Mar 1942Nationality:      Brazilian
FateSunk by U-155 (Adolf Cornelius Piening)
Position35° 15'N, 73° 55'W - Grid CA 8786
Complement55 (1 dead and 54 survivors).
RouteNew York - Hampton Roads - Trinidad - Rio de Janeiro 
Cargo9680 tons of coal and coke 

Completed in September 1917 as British War Sword for the Shipping Controller, managed by Cunard SS Co, Liverpool. 1919 sold to Italy and renamed Caprera for Navigazione Generale Italiana, Genoa and in 1932 sold to Italia Flotte Riunite, Genoa.

On 1 Jun 1932, the Caprera stranded at Ilha de Mai in Baía da Guanabara (Guanabara Bay) about 15 miles from Rio de Janeiro, salvaged in August 1932 and laid up after being declared a total loss. The wreck was first purchased by Pedro Luis Correa & Castro, Rio de Janeiro, but 1933 sold to Pedro Brandão. The ship was rebuilt at the shipyard of Lage & Irmãos (Henrique Lage Org.) on Ilha do Viana, Rio de Janeiro and returned to service in 1941 as Arabutan (Arabutã) (managed by Lloyd Nacional). 

Notes on event

At 21.10 hours on 7 March 1942, U-155 fired a stern torpedo that hit the Arabutan (Master Aníbal Alfredo do Prado) after 102 seconds and caused her to sink in 13 minutes about 81 miles off Cape Hatteras. The ship had been spotted one hour earlier but no neutrality markings were noticed. One crew member (Manoel Florêncio Coimbra) was lost, he probably was killed by the explosion while sleeping in his cabin. The master, 50 crew members, three sailors from the Brazilian tanker Itamarati and a survivor from Buarque abandoned ship in four lifeboats which were sighted about six hours later by aircraft. On 8 March, the US Coast Guard cutter USS Calypso (WPC 104) picked up the survivors and landed them at Little Creek, Virginia after sinking their boats as a hazard to navigation.

On boardWe have details of 55 people who were on board

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