Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage7,088 tons
Completed1920 - Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp, Alameda CA 
OwnerAmerican Petroleum Transport Co, New York 
Date of attack6 May 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-333 (Peter-Erich Cremer)
Position27° 14'N, 80° 03'W - Grid DB 9763
Complement32 (0 dead and 32 survivors).
RouteCorpus Christi, Texas (30 Apr) - New York 
Cargo40.000 barrels of naphtha and 40.000 barrels of heating oil 
History Completed in August 1920 
Notes on event

At 11.25 hours on 6 May 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Halsey (Master Henrik K. Johnson) was hit by two torpedoes from U-333 off Jupiter Inlet, Florida, while proceeding on a nonevasive course at 10.5 knots in bright moonlight. The torpedoes struck close together on the port side at the #2 and #3 main tanks. The explosion ripped a hole in the side 60 feet long. The master stopped the engines and headed toward the shore. No distress signal was sent, because the radio antenna had been destroyed. The entire crew of eight officers and 24 men abandoned ship in two lifeboats 15 minutes after the attack, the other two boats had been destroyed by the explosions. The men were nearly asphyxiated by the naphtha fumes before they could clear the ship. After one hour, the U-boat came alongside the lifeboats and offered assistance, but it was declined.
The survivors recounted that the calcium lights on the lifebuoys ignited the naphtha two hours later. The tanker exploded amidships, broke in two and burst into flames both fore and aft. At the time of the explosion, USS PC-451 had approached the lifeboats but had to immediately investigate a probable sighting of a conning tower. Two fishing vessels later took the lifeboats in tow and brought them to the Gilbert Bar Lifeboat Station.

On boardWe have details of 1 people who were on board

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