Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

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Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage7,137 tons
Completed1916 - Wm Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Co, Philadelphia PA 
OwnerSocony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack9 Apr 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-552 (Erich Topp)
Position34° 27'N, 76° 16'W - Grid DC 1163
Complement34 (2 dead and 32 survivors).
RouteHouston (1 Apr) - Seawarren, New Jersey 
Cargo84.239 barrels of gasoline 
History Built as Sunoil 1927 renamed Atlas 
Notes on event

On 9 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Atlas (Master Hamilton Gray) steered a non-evasive course off Cape Lookout, but after hearing a diesel engine swung her stern toward the sound. With the moon rising, U-552 fired a torpedo at 2000 metres that struck the starboard side amidships at the #6 tank. The explosion threw up a cloud of smoke and water but did not ignite the cargo. The engines were stopped and the crew of eight officers and 26 men abandoned ship in three lifeboats.
The U-boat came closer and fired a second torpedo that created a fireball and caused the ship to burn from stem to stern. One lifeboat drifted into the burning gasoline on the water and the master ordered the men overboard as the fire swept over them. The third mate and an ordinary seaman drowned trying to escape the flames. The master was severely burned and the others from that boat all suffered various degrees of burns. An aircraft sighted the lifeboats at daylight and directed a US Coast Guard cutter to them, which picked up the survivors and took them to Morehead City, North Carolina.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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