Ships hit by U-boats

Alcoa Partner

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

NameAlcoa Partner
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,513 tons
Completed1919 - Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Harriman PA 
OwnerAlcoa SS Co Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack26 Apr 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-66 (Richard Zapp)
Position13° 32'N, 67° 57'W - Grid ED 4793
Complement35 (10 dead and 25 survivors).
RouteTrinidad - Mobile 
Cargo8500 tons of bauxite ore 
History Completed in October 1919 as Bensalem for US Shipping Board (USSB) and later became a part of the reserve fleet. 1941 renamed Alcoa Partner for Alcoa SS Co Inc, New York. 
Notes on event

At 08.30 hours on 26 April 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Alcoa Partner (Master Ernest Henke) was hit by a torpedo from U-66 which struck the port side at the #2 hatch of the zigzagging freighter. Immediately after the impact, U-66 fired one shell with the gun, which hit the poop deck. Because of her cargo, the vessel sank in less than three minutes about 80 miles north-northeast of Bonaire. The crew of seven officers, 27 men and one workaway found themselves in the water, never having enough time to launch any of the four lifeboats. But one lifeboat with one man on board floated free and 24 men managed to reach this boat. The survivors searched the vicinity for the missing 10 men (the second engineer, the radio operator, seven others and the workaway) until after dawn. They made landfall in Bonaire 37 hours after the attack.

The master Ernest Henke survived also the sinking of his next ship, the Alcoa Rambler, which was sunk by U-174 (Thilo) on 15 Dec 1942. His next ship, the Alcoa Prospector was also torpedoed but only damaged by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-27 in the Gulf of Oman on 5 July 1943 and returned to service.

On boardWe have details of 13 people who were on board

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