Ships hit by U-boats

Comol Rico

American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of SSHSA Collection, University of Baltimore Library

NameComol Rico
Type:Steam tanker (Hog Island)
Tonnage5,034 tons
Completed1919 - American International Shipbuilding Corp, Hog Island PA 
OwnerCommercial Molasses Corp, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack4 Apr 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-154 (Walther K├Âlle)
Position20° 46'N, 66° 46'W - Grid DO 7296
Complement42 (3 dead and 39 survivors).
RouteHumacoa, Puerto Rico (3 Apr) - Boston, Massachusetts 
Cargo8068 tons of bulk molasses 
History Laid down as steam merchant Sebethe of the Hog Island type, completed in June 1919 as Kishacoquillas for US Shipping Board (USSB), Philadelphia. 1920 converted to a steam tanker. 1939 renamed Comol Roco for Commercial Molasses Corp, New York. 
Notes on event

At 21.35 hours on 4 April 1942 the unescorted Comol Rico (Master Peter Hansen Lang) was hit by one torpedo from U-154 about 225 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico, while proceeding on a nonevasive course at 9 knots. Lookouts had spotted the torpedo 150 feet from the tanker and the helmsman put the wheel over hard left, but it struck amidships and the vessel sank quickly within seven minutes. The surviving members of the crew of eight officers, 28 men and six armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, two .50cal and two .30cal guns) left the ship in one lifeboat and three rafts. Just as the boats left a second torpedo had struck the Comol Rico and blew away the whole side, killing one officer and two men on watch below. Later the survivors spotted a passenger ship and sent up flares, but the ship, when about three miles off, turned and steamed in the opposite direction. On 6 April, a US Navy aircraft spotted the survivors and directed USS Sturtevant (DD 240) to pick them up. On 9 April, the 39 survivors were landed at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On boardWe have details of 35 people who were on board

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