Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage3,085 tons
Completed1921 - NV Scheepsbouwwerf Gebr Pot, Bolnes 
OwnerKoninklijke Paketvaart Mij., Amsterdam 
Date of attack14 Dec 1942Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-177 (Robert Gysae)
Position31° 02'S, 34° 00'E - Grid KP 8990
Complement72 (53 dead and 19 survivors).
RoutePort Sudan - Beira (7 Dec) - Durban 
History Laid down as Haringvliet for Hollandsche Algemeene Atlantische Scheepvaart Mij., Amsterdam. Completed in June 1921 as Sawahloento for Koninklijke Paketvaart Mij., Amsterdam. 
Notes on event

At 16.36 hours on 14 Dec 1942 the unescorted Sawahloento (Master J.B. Swieringa) was hit by the last torpedo of U-177 about 170 miles southeast of Durban. The torpedo had been spotted by lookouts moments before it struck on the starboard side near the engine room and caused the ship to sink by the stern with a list to starboard after 7 minutes. One of the starboard lifeboats had been destroyed by the explosion and both boats on the port side capsized when the boiler exploded, apparently drowning most occupants. Only one lifeboat got away with ten survivors, who were questioned by the Germans. They asked for help for the injured fourth officer, the U-boat however left without assisting them. The men in the boat then rescued nine survivors swimming in the water in the dark and rainy night, but they had to leave other survivors behind clinging to two rafts or the capsized boats as their boat was leaking and they were afraid of overloading it. The lifeboat then set sail towards South Africa and was taken in tow two days later by the fishing vessel Guide Me about five miles off Umvoti. It subsequently swamped off Umhlanga Rocks, so the survivors were picked up by the fishing vessel and landed at Durban in the morning of 17 December.

On boardWe have details of 53 people who were on board

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