Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

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Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage1,254 tons
Completed1912 - NV Werf van Rijkee & Co, Rotterdam 
OwnerNV Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Mij (KNSM), Amsterdam 
Date of attack18 May 1942Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-558 (Günther Krech)
Position22° 10'N, 72° 30'W - Grid DN 5825
Complement29 (2 dead and 27 survivors).
RouteNew York (6 May) – Grand Turk Island, Bahamas – Port-au-Prince, Haiti 
CargoGeneral cargo, including cement, machinery, flour, matches, 15 barrels of kerosene, 5 barrels of gasoline and 22 bags of mail 
History Completed in July 1912 
Notes on event

At 06.15 hours on 18 May 1942 the unescorted Fauna (Master Jacob den Heyer) was hit on the port side under the bridge by one stern torpedo from U-558 while steaming on a non-evasive course at 10 knots in the Caicos Passage about 25 miles northwest of North Caicos. The explosion blew a large hole into the side and the hatch covers off #1 and #2 holds, destroyed the port motor lifeboat and caused a fire in #2 hold that spread to the radio shack and made it impossible to send distress signals. The ship developed a list to starboard of 28 to 30 degrees when both forward holds flooded, but after water entered the engine and boiler rooms the ship rolled to port and capsized following a boiler explosion, sinking 17 minutes after being hit. The master, 21 crew members and one gunner (the ship was armed with one 3in gun aft) had abandoned ship within 10 minutes in the starboard lifeboat, but five crew members and one gunner were still aboard when she sank. Four of whom were picked up by the lifeboat, aided by a searchlight from the U-boat which then questioned the occupants of the boat, asking in English about the name, nationality and tonnage. The Dutch master answered in German but they had difficulty understanding the name and misidentified her as Towa. About 11 hours later, the lifeboat reached West Caicos but finding no people there continued until encountering a small sailing boat off Blue Hills in the morning of 19 May. They were taken aboard and landed at East Harbor on 21 May, from where they were later transferred to Port-au-Prince.

On boardWe have details of 29 people who were on board

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