Ships hit by U-boats


American Motor tanker

Photo courtesy of Texaco Archives

Type:Motor tanker
Tonnage8,580 tons
Completed1937 - Sun Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co, Chester PA 
OwnerThe Texas Co, Wilmington DE 
Date of attack28 May 1943Nationality:      American
FateDamaged by U-154 (Oskar-Heinz Kusch)
Position3° 56'S, 36° 43'W - Grid FB 9621
Complement69 (0 dead and 69 survivors).
RouteNatal, Brazil (27 May) - Trinidad 
CargoWater ballast 
History Completed in October 1937

Broken up at Panama City in March 1969.

Notes on event

Between 04.43 and 04.46 hours on 28 May 1943, U-154 fired six torpedoes at convoy BT-14 about 125 miles east of Fortaleza, Brazil and reported one tanker damaged, one freighter sunk, one tanker probably sunk and two more freighters sunk. In fact each of the three ships Florida in station #53, Cardinal Gibbons in station #61 and John Worthington in station #42 were hit by one torpedo and all reached port safely, but the last ship was never repaired.

The Florida (Master Magnus Gunderson) was struck forward of the after peak on the starboard side 15 feet beneath the waterline. The explosion opened a hole 16 feet by six feet and broke her back. The ship lost way as water filled the engine room and the stern settled until the stern gun platform was awash. 15 minutes after the attack, the eight officers, 34 crewmen and 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) abandoned ship in three lifeboats. A fourth boat swamped in the moderate seas. All hands were picked up by USS PC-592 and landed at Fortaleza the same day.
A salvage crew boarded the tanker and USS Saucy (PG 65) towed her into Fortaleza. USS Crusader (ARS 2) later towed the Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico for temporary repairs. The tanker returned to service after permanent repairs were made at Chester, Pennsylvania.

On boardWe have details of 2 people who were on board

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