Ships hit by U-boats

Peter Mærsk

British Motor merchant

Photo courtesy of Danish Maritime Museum, Elsinore

NamePeter Mærsk
Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage5,476 tons
Completed1932 - Odense Staalskibsværft ved A.P. Møller, Odense 
OwnerAlfred Holt & Co, Liverpool 
Date of attack7 Dec 1942Nationality:      British
FateSunk by U-185 (August Maus)
Position39° 47'N, 41° 00'W - Grid CD 5283
Complement67 (67 dead - no survivors)
ConvoyON-149 (dispersed)
RouteLiverpool - Saldanha Bay, South Africa - Capetown - Aden - Alexandria 
Cargo4601 tons of government stores and 643 tons of general cargo 
History Completed in March 1932 as Danish Peter Mærsk for A.P. Møller, Copenhagen. 1940 taken over by Britain and transferred to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). 
Notes on event

At 03.40 hours on 7 Dec 1942 the unescorted Peter Mærsk (Master Otto Aggerholm), detached from station #103 in convoy ON-149 on 5 December, was hit by two torpedoes from U-185 about 460 miles west of the Azores. At 04.52 hours, the ship was struck by a coup de grâce after a first missed at 04.30 hours. At 05.31 hours, the U-boat fired another coup de grâce after the ship settled by the bow with a list and did not sink, but missed again due to heavy seas. Maus decided to dive and reload the torpedo tubes, assuming that the ship will sink in the worsening weather. At 08.30 hours, the Germans heard sinking noises and only found wreckage when surfacing two hours later. The crew had managed to send a distress signal with the name of the vessel and its position before abandoning ship in the lifeboats, but the survivors were never found and probably perished in a storm that raged in the area the following days. The master, 47 crew members, eight gunners and eleven passengers were lost.

On boardWe have details of 63 people who were on board

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