Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

Lihue under her former name Seattle. Photo courtesy of State Library of New South Wales

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage7,001 tons
Completed1919 - Skinner & Eddy Corp, Seattle WA 
OwnerMatson Navigation Co, San Francisco CA 
HomeportSan Francisco 
Date of attack23 Feb 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-161 (Albrecht Achilles)
Position14° 30'N, 64° 45'W - Grid ED 5955
Complement45 (0 dead and 45 survivors).
RouteNew York - Trinidad - Persian Gulf 
Cargo5000 tons of general cargo and war material 
History Completed in September 1919 as Wheatland Montana for US Shipping Board (USSB). 1928 renamed Seattle for Tacoma-Oriental SS Co, Tacoma WA. 1937 renamed Lihue for Matson Navigation Co, San Francisco CA. 
Notes on event

At 06.43 hours on 23 Feb 1942 the unescorted Lihue (Master W.G. Leithead) was torpedoed by U-161 about 275 miles west of Martinique. One torpedo struck on the port side forward of the #1 hold. About 15 minutes later, the U-boat surfaced and fired a few shots from its deck gun until the armed guards returned fire with her armament of one 3in, four .50cal and two .30cal guns, forcing the U-boat to submerge. The ship then evaded two torpedoes at 18.39 and 18.54 hours and the U-boat ceased the attack, because Achilles thought that the Lihue was possibly a Q-ship.

But after the unsuccessful attack in the evening, the crew of eight officers, 28 crewmen and nine armed guards abandoned ship in two lifeboats and three rafts. They were all picked up four hours later by the British steam tanker British Governor, after a US Navy aircraft had directed the ship to the lifeboats. A salvage party from HMCS Prince Henry (F 70) (Capt J.C.I. Edwards, RCN) boarded the Lihue in an attempt to save her, but the ship sank on 26 February while being towed to St. Lucia by USS Partridge (AM 16).

On boardWe have details of 34 people who were on board

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