Ships hit by U-boats

J.N. Pew

American Steam tanker

Photo courtesy of Sun Refining & Marketing Co

NameJ.N. Pew
Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage9,033 tons
Completed1921 - Sun Shipbuilding Co, Chester PA 
OwnerSun Oil Company, Philadelphia PA 
Date of attack22 Feb 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-502 (Jürgen von Rosenstiel)
Position12° 40'N, 74° 00'W - Grid EC 8279
Complement36 (33 dead and 3 survivors).
RouteAruba (20 Feb) - Panama Canal 
Cargo104.270 barrels of fuel oil 
History Completed in July 1921 
Notes on event

At 01.59 hours on 22 Feb 1942 the unescorted and unarmed J.N. Pew (Master Thomas Edelen Bush) was hit by one of two torpedoes fired by U-502 about 225 miles west of Aruba, while steaming completely blacked out on a zigzagging course at 11 knots. The torpedo struck on the port side between the main mast and the midships pump room. The explosion sprayed oil over the entire length and set the midships house afire. The burning tanker was sunk by four coups de grâce fired at 02.35, 02.42, 02.54 and 03.04 hours.
The eight officers and 28 crewmen tried to abandon ship in the rough seas, but two of the four lifeboats and two floats were destroyed by the fire. One lifeboat cleared the ship with only two men in it and reached shore about 35 miles east of Riohacha, Colombia on 25 February. Friendly Indians helped them reach Riohacha, from where they were taken to Barranquilla, Colombia. A second boat swamped when it hit the water and ten survivors managed to right the boat the next morning, but had to set sail without water, food and survival equipment. On 14 March, only one man was alive when the boat was found by a patrol aircraft off Cristobal, which directed the Panamanian motor merchant Annetta I to it. He was taken to the Coco Naval Base, where he was hospitalized for several weeks before he was able to be sent home. None of the officers survived the sinking.

On boardWe have details of 36 people who were on board

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