Ships hit by U-boats


American Steam merchant

US Naval Historical Center Photograph #NH 70456

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,110 tons
Completed1911 - Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Newport News VA 
OwnerNew York & Puerto Rican SS Co (Agwilines Inc), New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack19 May 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-751 (Gerhard Bigalk)
Position17° 50'N, 75° 00'W - Grid EC 1355
Complement37 (3 dead and 34 survivors).
RouteNew York - San Juan, Puerto Rico 
Cargo1950 tons of general cargo and cars as deck cargo 
History Completed in August 1911 as steam merchant Isabela for New York & Puerto Rican SS Co (Agwilines Inc), New York. In April 1918 requisitioned by the US Navy and commissioned at New York in April 1918 as transport USS Isabela. After two voyages to France the ship was decommissioned and returned to the owner by the US Shipping Board (USSB) in February 1919. 
Notes on event

At 10.40 hours on 19 May 1942 the unescorted and unarmed Isabela (Master Reginald J. Dexter) was torpedoed by U-751 35 miles south of Navassa Island Light. One torpedo struck on the starboard side at a coal bunker at the waterline slightly abaft the bridge. The explosion caused extensive damage, immediately stopped the vessel and killed two firemen and a coal passer on watch below. All partial bulkheads on the main deck and above broke and jarred the galley range off its foundation, causing it to fall through the tremendous hole in the various decks at least to the bottom of the ship and perhaps right through the bottom. The U-boat then surfaced and began shelling the ship off the port side from about 350 yards. Four shots were fired before the surviving eight officers and 26 crewmen abandoned ship in two lifeboats and three rafts and three shots after it. The ship finally sank over the bow with a port side list at 10.58 hours. The men on the rafts later transferred to the boats the next morning and they rowed to Cape Briton, Haiti. One lifeboat made landfall in 18 hours and the other in 30 hours.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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