Ships hit by U-boats

Steel Scientist

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News VA

NameSteel Scientist
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,688 tons
Completed1921 - Federal Shipbuilding Co, Kearny NJ 
OwnerIsthmian SS Co, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack12 Oct 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-514 (Hans-Jürgen Auffermann)
Position5° 48'N, 51° 50'W - Grid EP 4761
Complement47 (1 dead and 46 survivors).
RouteSuez - Capetown (22 Sep) - Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana 
Cargo200 tons of general cargo and 1800 tons of salt ballast 
History Completed in December 1921 
Notes on event

At 00.10 hours on 12 Oct 1942 the unescorted Steel Scientist (Master Karl O. Bornson) was struck on the starboard side in the #4 hold by a torpedo from U-514 while steaming at 11 knots on a zigzag course about 95 miles north of Cayenne, French Guiana. The explosion stopped the engines, filled the engine room with ammonia fumes from the broken ice machinery, started a fire on the poop deck, blew away the radio antenna and caused the ship to settle fast by the stern. About 10 minutes later, all but one crew member of the ten officers, 28 crewmen and nine armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4in, four 20mm and two .30cal guns) on board abandoned ship in three lifeboats and a gig, the fourth lifeboat was left hanging vertically on its davit. At 00.22 hours, a first coup de grâce hit and showered the gig about 200 yards away with debris. At 00.52 hours, a third torpedo struck aft of the bridge and caused the ship to sink by the bow eight minutes later. The U-boat surfaced near the gig containing the master and the radio operator and asked for the master but they told the Germans that he was not present so they left the area. On 19 October the two men made landfall at Tarlogie Loretyne near New Amsterdam, British Guiana. The three lifeboats with 44 survivors landed in Paramaribo on 20 October.

On boardWe have details of 46 people who were on board

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