Ships hit by U-boats

La Paz

British Motor merchant

Photo courtesy of the Allen Collection

NameLa Paz
Type:Motor merchant
Tonnage6,548 tons
Completed1920 - Harland & Wolff Ltd, Govan, Glasgow 
OwnerPacific Steam Navigation Co Ltd, Liverpool 
Date of attack1 May 1942Nationality:      British
FateDamaged by U-109 (Heinrich Bleichrodt)
Position28° 15'N, 80° 20'W - Grid DB 9429
Complement57 (0 dead and 57 survivors).
RouteLiverpool (27 Mar) - Halifax - Hampton Roads - Valparaiso 
CargoGeneral cargo, including whisky 
History Completed in September 1920

In 1945 the La Paz was sold to Construction Aggregates Co, Chicago IL and was not engaged in deep sea trading. 1947 sold to Belgium and renamed Rubens for Armement H. Vervliet, Antwerp. On 21 Jul 1951, the ship was wrecked and burnt out south of Tokyo in position 35°13N/140°25E. 
Notes on event

At 11.36 hours on 1 May 1942 the unescorted La Paz was hit by one of two torpedoes from U-109 in shallow waters about 10 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral. 42 crew members abandoned ship in three lifeboats, while the master and 14 crew members remained on board to save the ship. The ship had been missed by a first torpedo at 11.01 hours.
Bleichrodt observed how the ship sank by the stern until it rested on the bottom with the bow out of the water and heard another detonation one minute later, thinking that the second torpedo had hit a ship of a tug convoy, which had been spotted earlier further inshore, but apparently the torpedo exploded as it hit the shore. He claimed the sinking of the Nicaraguan motor merchant Worden (555 grt), identified by an intercepted radio message, but the vessel only reported the distress of the La Paz and took the damaged ship in tow. With the help of some shrimp cutters, she was subsequently beached with the forward section in a distance of about seven miles in 28°19N/80°33´30W.

The La Paz was salvaged together with the cargo after being sold to US agents and passed to the US War Shipping Administration (WSA). She was towed to Jacksonville, repaired and returned to service on 7 Oct 1942 as ship of the US Maritime Commission.


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