Ships hit by U-boats

South America

Norwegian Motor tanker

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

NameSouth America
Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage6,246 tons
Completed1931 - Nakskov Skibsværft A/S, Nakskov 
OwnerThe Texas Co (Norway) A/S, Oslo 
Date of attack6 Apr 1944Nationality:      Norwegian
FateSunk by U-302 (Herbert Sickel)
Position45° 05'N, 35° 11'W - Grid BD 7348
Complement42 (0 dead and 42 survivors).
RoutePhiladelphia - Halifax - Ellesmere Port 
Cargo7800 tons of crude oil 
History Launched as Henrik Ameln for A/S Frugtfart (L. Harboe-Jensen), Oslo. Completed in April 1931 as Borneo and laid up. In January 1933 renamed South America for The Texaco Co (Norway) A/S, Oslo. 
Notes on event

On 6 April 1944, U-302 fired torpedoes at convoy SC-156 and sank Ruth I and South America, but was herself lost after the attack.

The South America (Master Alf Ambjørnsen) was hit on the port side by a torpedo between the #3 wing tank and #8 center tank behind the pumproom and caught fire immediately. Five minutes later, a second torpedo struck aft, resulting in an enormous explosion that apparently extinguished the fire, but the tanker broke in two and settled in the middle. The men on the poop abandoned ship in a raft and a lifeboat and seven men from amidships abandoned ship in the starboard lifeboat. All were picked up after a short time by the British rescue ship Goodwin, which then went to rescue survivors from the Ruth I, but they were already picked up by another vessel. About 45 minutes later, the rescue ship returned to the tanker, only to find both parts of the ship high in the air with the amidships section below water. The following day, an escort was sent to the wreck to recover the papers of the ship and confidential books, but in the meantime the stern had sunk and only the bow was still visible. All survivors were landed in Gourock on 13 April.

More infoMore on this vessel 
On boardWe have details of 42 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