Ships hit by U-boats

Alcoa Shipper

American Steam merchant

Photo courtesy of Steamship Historical Society (

NameAlcoa Shipper
Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage5,491 tons
Completed1920 - Merchant Shipbuilding Corp, Harriman PA 
OwnerAlcoa SS Co, New York 
HomeportNew York 
Date of attack30 May 1942Nationality:      American
FateSunk by U-404 (Otto von B├╝low)
Position37° 49'N, 65° 15'W - Grid CB 4765
Complement32 (7 dead and 25 survivors).
RoutePort of Spain - New York 
Cargo8340 tons of bauxite ore 
History Completed in March 1920 as Davenport for US Shipping Board (USSB) and later laid up as part of the reserve fleet. 1940 renamed Alcoa Shipper for Alcoa SS Co Inc, New York. 
Notes on event

At 10.24 hours on 30 May 1942, lookouts on the unarmed and unescorted Alcoa Shipper (Master Alderman Logan Scott) spotted the U-404 surfacing about 500 miles east of Cape Charles, Virginia. Despite using two different zigzag patterns, just then one torpedo struck the starboard side at the fireroom and caused the boiler to explode. The vessel immediately stopped and settled within five minutes, so fast that the two lifeboats being launched became fouled and went down with the ship. Three men were killed on the watch below and four others drowned. 25 out of a total crew of eight officers and 24 crewmen abandoned ship on three rafts that released themselves. The U-boat approached the survivors, the Germans questioned them and then gave several bottles of rum, cigarettes and a pair of dungarees for a man who had escaped with little clothing. 56 hours later five officers and 20 men were picked up by the Norwegian steam merchant Margrethe Bakke and landed in New York on 3 June.

On boardWe have details of 8 people who were on board

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