Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,365 tons
Completed1904 - Workman, Clark & Co Ltd, Belfast 
OwnerUnited Fruit SS Co, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack9 Apr 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-123 (Reinhard Hardegen)
Position30° 46'N, 81° 11'W - Grid DB 5663
Complement40 (1 dead and 39 survivors).
RoutePuerto Cortes, Honduras - New York 
Cargo1450 tons of general cargo, including bananas and coffee 
History Completed in October 1904 for Tropical Fruit SS Co Ltd (United Fruit SS Co), Glasgow. 1914 transferred to US flag. 
Notes on event

At 07.16 hours on 9 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Esparta (Master Alfred L. Case) was hit by one G7e torpedo from U-123 about 14 miles south of Brunswick, Georgia. The torpedo struck the starboard side at the #4 hatch, blew off the #3 and #4 hatch covers, damaged both sides of the ship and released ammonia gas used in the refrigerating system of the ship. A small fire burned at the point of impact and the fumes forced several men to jump overboard, one of them drowned. The vessel quickly listed 15° to starboard and began to sink rapidly by the stern.
Distress signals were sent and acknowledgments were received. Ten minutes after the hit most of the crew of eleven officers and 29 men abandoned ship in two lifeboats and one raft, the master and radio operator left last by jumping overboard onto the raft. Because the ship sank in shallow water the bow protruded obliquely out of the water until she sank completely two hours later. The survivors were picked up by the American patrol boat USS Tyrer (WIX 339) seven hours later.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

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