Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam tanker

Type:Steam tanker
Tonnage4,763 tons
Completed1935 - NV Rotterdamsche Droogdok Mij., Rotterdam 
OwnerNederlandsche Koloniale Tankvaart Mij NV, The Hague 
HomeportThe Hague 
Date of attack20 May 1943Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-197 (Robert Bartels)
Position6° 05'S, 12° 56'W - Grid FM 2269
Complement44 (0 dead and 44 survivors).
RouteCapetown (8 May) - Baltimore 
Notes on event

The Benakat (Master C.J. Grootes) left Capetown in a coastal convoy which was formed in the Table Bay, but left after three days to continue her voyage on the prescribed route to the destination. On 14 May 1943 the Admiralty radioed a new course.
At 07.28 hours on 20 May she was struck by a torpedo from U-197 on the starboard side, just before the bridge. The explosion caused very heavy damage, wrecked the starboard lifeboat and destroyed the starboard machinegun-platform, injuring the first and fourth mate (not seriously). After the hit no electric power was left, so the distress signal could only be send a few times. The ship began to list to starboard, and with some difficulty the crew succeeded in boarding the three remaining lifeboats and rowed away. About 20 minutes later a second torpedo hit the Benakat on the starboard side and broke her in two. The bow section sank and the stern remained afloat. The U-boat surfaced and fired with the deck gun at the port side of the vessel until the stern sank.

On boardWe have details of 44 people who were on board

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