Norwegian Motor tanker
|Completed||1928 - Kockums Mekaniska Verksteds A/B, Malmö|
|Owner||Halfdan Ditlev-Simonsen & Co, Oslo|
|Date of attack||13 Sep 1942||Nationality: Norwegian|
|Fate||A total loss by U-558 (Günther Krech)|
|Position||12° 15'N, 62° 52'W - Grid ED 8296|
|Complement||34 (0 dead and 34 survivors).|
|Route||Durban - Port of Spain, Trinidad (12 Sep) - New Orleans|
|History||Completed in January 1928 |
|Notes on event|
At 08.28 hours on 13 Sep 1942, U-558 fired two torpedoes at Vilja (Master Karl Andersen) in convoy TAG-5 and hit her with one torpedo on the port bow in the deep tank, blowing debris high into the air. The master, 29 crew members and four gunners abandoned ship in the lifeboats, but stayed near the tanker and because nothing more happened, they reboarded her after 4 hours. An inspection revealed that several cargo holds and the pump room were half flooded and the sea could be seen through the bottom of #5 tank. Nevertheless, the crew decided to take the ship back to Port of Spain and soon thereafter picked up the survivors from Empire Lugard, which had been sunk earlier from the same convoy by the same U-boat. En route they were first escorted by an aircraft and then by a single escort until they reached port on 15 September.
The Vilja had been badly damaged in a fire in the harbour of Haifa that was caused when the French tanker Phenix blew up in December 1941. Temporary repairs were made in Haifa and in Port Said in February 1942, then the tanker was towed through the Suez Canal in May 1942 and arrived in Aden to load a cargo of oil. The ship continued at 7 knots to Durban where the cargo was unloaded and she was then sent to the USA for permanent repairs.
|On board||We have details of 8 people who were on board.|
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