Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

Type:Steam merchant (Hog Island)
Tonnage4,981 tons
Completed1920 - American International Shipbuilding Corp, Hog Island PA 
OwnerAmerican Export Lines Inc, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack9 Oct 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-68 (Karl-Friedrich Merten)
Position34° 52'S, 18° 30'E - Grid GR 5965
Complement51 (11 dead and 40 survivors).
RouteColombo, Ceylon - Capetown 
Cargo5776 tons of chrome ore, jute and hemp 
History Completed in January 1920 as Coeur d´Alene for US Shipping Board (USSB), Philadelphia. 1928 renamed Examelia for American Export Lines Inc, New York. 
Notes on event

At 03.44 hours on 9 Oct 1942 the unescorted Examelia (Master Andrew Tulenko) was hit by one torpedo from U-68 about 20 miles south of the Cape of Good Hope, while proceeding on a nonevasive course at 10 knots in complete darkness. The torpedo struck at the bulkhead between the fireroom and engine room. The explosion stopped the engines immediately and caused the ship to sink within seven minutes. 43 of the eight officers, 30 men and 13 armed guard (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) abandoned ship in two lifeboats, four rafts and two floats. The first boat could not be successfully launched and went down with the ship, taking two men along. The other boat capsized because of the rapid sinking, drowning one man. The master, one officer, six men and three armed guards died. Another lifeboat floated free and the survivors righted the capsized boat and distributed the men between the two boats. U-68 surfaced and questioned the survivors before leaving.
The same day, the survivors were picked up by the American steam merchant John Lykes and taken to Port Elizabeth, South Africa from which they traveled to Capetown by train.

On 21 October, all 40 survivors left Capetown on the Zaandam, which was sunk by U-174 (Thilo) on 2 November. 21 of the original survivors died in this sinking. 11 crew members and three armed guards spent five days in a lifeboat before they were picked up by the Gulfstate which took them to Trinidad, arriving on 13 November. Five others in a lifeboat reached the coast of Brazil nine days after the sinking.

On boardWe have details of 47 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats