Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage6,561 tons
Completed1921 - Union Shipbuilding Co, Baltimore MD 
OwnerGulf Oil Co, New York 
Date of attack10 Jul 1943Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-371 (Waldemar Mehl)
Position37° 13'N, 5° 12'E - Grid CH 9616
Complement63 (1 dead and 62 survivors).
RoutePhilippeville, Algeria (10 Jul) - Algiers 
Cargo1000 barrels of aviation gasoline (100 Octane) in #3 tank and salt water ballast 
History Completed in May 1921

At 12.30 hours on 13 May 1942, the unescorted and unarmed Gulfprince (Master Peter Joseph Sigona) was steaming five miles behind of the Gulfpenn about six miles south of the Ship Shoals Sea Buoy, when the Gulfprince was attacked by U-507 (Schacht) in 28°32N/91°00W. The other tanker immediately left the scene at full speed, but was torpedoed and sunk by U-506 (Würdemann) at 21.38 hours the same day.

A lookout on the Gulfprince spotted the periscope one mile astern and the tanker proceeded on a zigzagging course at 10 knots. The first and second torpedo fired by U-507 at 12.38 and 13.39 hours were skillfully evaded, the first passing ahead and the second passing astern. But the third torpedo fired at 13.41 hours struck the tanker a glancing blow on the starboard side aft and abreast of the #8 main cargo tank. After glancing off, it jumped into the air about three feet and then submerged again. The collision sprung hull plates and four feet of oil leaked from the tank. The tanker continued under full steam on a zigzag course to escape. None of the eight officers and 34 crewmen on board were injured. She arrived New Orleans and went into dry dock for repairs after discharging her cargo and returned to service on 15 Jun 1942. She had been en route from Port Arthur, Texas to New York with a cargo of 71.000 barrels of crude oil.

Notes on event

At 12.41 hours on 10 July 1943, U-371 fired torpedoes at convoy ET-22A about 30 miles east of Bougie and damaged the Matthew Maury and Gulfprince (in station #22). The convoy was about eight hours out of port.

The Gulfprince (Master John Lund) was struck by one torpedo on the starboard side at the #7 tank. The torpedo penetrated 20 feet into the empty but non-gas-free tank before exploding. The explosion ripped a 20-foot hole in the side, destroyed the steering engine, brought down the main mast and started fires in the tanks carrying fuel. The engines were secured and the ship listed to starboard. Within minutes the complement of eight officers, 28 crewmen and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in two lifeboats, three rafts and by jumping overboard. All men were picked up by HMS Sir Gareth (T 227) (T/Skipper J.P. Smith, RNR) and the Empire Commerce, but one of the armed guards later died from burns on board.
A salvage crew boarded the vessel and the tugs HMS Weazel (W 120) and HMS Hudson (W 02) towed her to Algiers, arriving on 12 July.

Rather than declaring the vessel a total loss, the US War Shipping Administration bought her and chartered the tanker to the US Navy for use as a mobile storehouse in North Africa. In March 1945 the ship was laid up at Taranto and was sold to Italy on 20 Feb 1948 for scrapping. Broken up at Venice in January 1949.

On boardWe have details of 3 people who were on board

Attack entries for Gulfprince

DateU-boatCommanderLoss typeTonsNat.
13 May 1942U-507KrvKpt. Harro SchachtDamaged6,561  
10 Jul 1943U-371Kptlt. Waldemar MehlDamaged6,561  

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

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats