Ships hit by U-boats


Chilean Steam merchant

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,858 tons
Completed1938 - Aalborg Værft A/S, Aalborg 
OwnerCia Sud Americana de Vapores, Valparaiso 
Date of attack13 Mar 1942Nationality:      Chilean
FateSunk by U-404 (Otto von Bülow)
Position40° 10'N, 73° 50'W - Grid CA 5241
Complement28 (27 dead and 1 survivor).
RouteBaltimore - New York 
History Completed in June 1938 as Danish Lotta for A/S D/S Vesterhavet (J. Lauritzen), Esbjerg. In April 1940 laid up at Talcahuano, Chile. On 16 February 1941 seized by the Chilean Government and later renamed Tolten
Notes on event

At 06.43 hours on 13 March 1942 the neutral and unescorted Tolten (Master Virgilio Aquiles Ramírez Bárcena) was hit near the bridge by one torpedo from U-404 and sank within 6 minutes 32 miles off Barnegat, New Jersey. The Germans reported that the ship was zigzagging in a darkened condition and was identified as Chilean ship only after the attack, in fact the master had been ordered to proceed without lights by a patrol vessel only a few hours prior to the attack. The only survivor, fireman Julio Faust Rivera, was blown overboard, managed to swim to a loose raft and passed out. He was first spotted by an aircraft in 39°50N/73°40W, later by the US Navy blimp L-2 from Lakehurst and finally picked up after 12 hours by USS Larch (AN 21) and taken to the Marine Hospital at Stapleton, Staten Island.

This sinking let to a harsh diplomatic reaction by the foreign minister of Chile and demonstrations against Germany, assisted by US propaganda, but unlike the declaration of war after U-boat attacks on Brazilian ships no further steps were undertaken.

On boardWe have details of 28 people who were on board

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