Ships hit by U-boats


Brazilian Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Edson de Lima Lucas

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,666 tons
Completed1935 - Lithgows Ltd, Port Glasgow 
OwnerCompanhia de Cabotagem de Peranambuco, Pernambuco 
Date of attack26 Jun 1942Nationality:      Brazilian
FateSunk by U-203 (Rolf Mützelburg)
Position23° 07'N, 62° 06'W - Grid DO 6195
Complement48 (0 dead and 48 survivors).
RouteSantos (26 Feb) – Recife, Pernambuco (12 Jun) – New York 
CargoGeneral cargo, including cotton and castor beans 
History Completed in February 1935 
Notes on event

At 23.17 hours on 26 June 1942 the unescorted Pedrinhas (Master Ernesto Mamedi Vidal) was hit on the port side in #5 hold by one G7e torpedo from U-203 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 8 knots about 290 miles north-northeast of Anegada, Virgin Islands. Mützelburg had spotted the ship three hours earlier in clear weather and decided to attack because the ship was armed and carried no neutrality markings. The Pedrinhas showed no flag at the time of the attack and had been fitted with a 102mm gun aft while in Pernambuco. The gun was disabled by the explosion of the torpedo and as the ship began to settle aft the crew became panicky and abandoned ship in two lifeboats within a few minutes, leaving the officers on board. The radio operator sent distress signals twice that were received in Bermuda before leaving together with the officers on rafts about ten minutes later and these men were subsequently picked up by the boats. The U-boat surfaced after the attack and the survivors observed how two German crewmen swam to the sinking vessel and boarded her. After about five minutes, they were taken off by U-203 which nosed up alongside. They probably searched for confidential papers but could not find any because the neutral ship had only received routing instructions that were locked in the safe, the key of which had been thrown overboard by the master. The U-boat then fired 22 rounds from the deck gun into the stricken ship and left the area without questioning the survivors after the ship sank by the stern about 45 minutes after being torpedoed. The survivors eventually set sail and were picked up after 84 hours by the tug USS Mankato (YNT 8) about half a mile off the northern coast of Puerto Rico and about 25 miles northwest of San Juan on 30 June. They were landed at San Juan later that day.

On boardWe have details of 48 people who were on board

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