Ships hit by U-boats


Panamanian Steam merchant

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Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,060 tons
Completed1913 - William Doxford & Sons Ltd, Sunderland 
OwnerSouth Atlantic Steamship Co, Savannah GA 
Date of attack8 Nov 1942Nationality:      Panamanian
FateSunk by U-181 (Wolfgang Lüth)
Position36° 00'S, 26° 32'E - Grid KY 6982
Complement49 (3 dead and 46 survivors).
RouteColombo, Ceylon - Capetown - USA 
Cargo1075 tons rubber, 1000 tons of manganese ore, 1000 tons of jute and gunnysack, 400 tons of tea and 5 
History Built as Gifford 1917 renamed Gifhorn and later that year Sperrbrecher 9 for the German Navy. 1918 returned to owner and renamed Gifford. 1919 renamed Sheaf Mount and 1930 renamed Eftychia. 1938 sold to Italia and renamed Guidonia for Achille Lauro, Naples. In June 1940 arrived in Norfolk and since March 1941 detained. On 23 Aug 1941 taken over by the USA under Executive Order and on 25 September assigned to the South Atlantic Steamship Co, Savannah by the US War Shipping Administration under GAA agreement. On 8 October renamed Plaudit and registered in Panama. 
Notes on event

At 20.55 hours on 8 Nov 1942 the unescorted Plaudit (Master Axel Pedersen) was hit on the port side in the engine room by one torpedo from U-181 off Port Elizabeth. The explosion destroyed both port lifeboats, the chart room, the port bridge wing and the radio shack, so that no distress message could be sent. About 30 minutes after being torpedoed the U-boat fired 15-20 rounds from the deck gun until the ship sank. The most of the 38 crew members and 11 armed guards on board abandoned ship in the two starboard lifeboats and two rafts, only the armed guards at the stern gun remained on station and had to jump overboard when the ship sank. The third engineer, the cook and one armed guard were lost.
All survivors were picked up by the South African trawler HMSAS Africana (T 01) in the course of the 10 November with the help of a British patrol aircraft. Later that day they were transferred to the RAF crash boat Navigator and landed in the evening at Port Elizabeth. Some survivors were repatriated to the USA aboard the American merchant Robin Doncaster, arriving at Philadelphia on 13 December.

On boardWe have details of 4 people who were on board

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