Maritime inquiry 1939 - 1945

The information below regarding ships in the Nortraship fleet is a direct transcript of the original source "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". The informasjon is collected from maritime inquiries held during and right after the war. The information may differ from the other quality assured information in Krigsseilerregisteret.

January 15, 1941
Torpedert [av italiensk ubåt]
Gourock Bay - Durban
Crew list
12 [12]
  • Abstract

    February 11, 1941
    Wm. A. Gillespie, Consul


    (In order to facilitate matters for the Consul a series of questions have been formulated to be put to the master and the witnesses. As these questions are intended cover the most freqently occuring cases, it is presumed however that the Consul on making use of them, on the one hand will exclude questions not bearing upon the case in point, and on the other hand will put forward possible necessary additional questions appropriate to the further circumstances of the casualty in question in order thereby best possible to get the cause and extent of the casualty cleared up.

    Such additional questions should be put in conjunction to those questions with which they belong i accordance with their nature. They should also be entered in full in the transcript and shold also be designated by the number in question as well as with section b., respectively c., etc.).

    1. How did the casualty occur? (A connected statement.)

    2. Was there any fault or defect in the condition of the vessel on departure from the last port?

    3. Were the instruments and the other equipment as well as the manning satisfactory?

    4. How were the boats placed and equipped and with what other lifesaving appliances was the vessel equipped? Does it appear from the log book whether the prescribed boat drills have been carried out? When was the last boat drill carried out?

    5. What was the vessel's usual intake of heavy cargo? How much did she have on board the last voyage? Was the vessel over loaded?

    6. How was the cargo or - as the case may be - the deck cargo or the ballast secured? In the case of grain cargo, how were the bulk heads and stiffeners? (Dimensions and positions).

    7. How many, and how large hatch openings were there and how were they battened down? How many cross webs were there in each hatchway? Were these cross webs fastened with bolts to the hatch coaming? Were the hatches of wood or iron and how many tarpaulins were there over same? Were they secured with booms? Did the vessel have tonnage openings? Where were they situated and how were they closed?

    8. How much did the vessel leak while in harbour and under sail or under way? How did the leskage arise and how great was this before the vessel was abandoned? Had any straining of the deck (the deck plates) or the hull previously been noticed with ore cargoes or similar heavy goods? Had the plates at any time become buckled, or had they at any time become fractured?

    9. When was the vessel last docked? Was any examination then made of the bottom valves, the rudder with gudeons and pintles and - as the case may be - the metal aheathing? Has the vessel since been aground?

    10. What does the master (the witness) lack in clothes in order - if required - to be sent home?

    11. How and by whom was the crew saved? Was the rescue connected with danger to the lives of the rescuers? What are their names, positions and addresses?

    12. Can any informastion be given about anything else of interest in connection with the loss of the vessel?

    13. What was, in the opinion of the master (the witness), the cause of the casualty?

    14. Have the nautical assessors anything to remark as to the statement of the master (the witness), or have they any questions that they wish to put?

    Text of Question 14. put by the Assessors. After crew came into the water what happened to you?

    Håkon Næss, ... chief officer, appeared in absence of the master, who was lost with the ship. He delivered a typed, signed statement in the absence of log books which had been lost. He stated ship left Gourock Bay on 11th January 1941 in ballast bound for Durban f.o. Voyage proceeded without incident until 8.50 p.m. Wednesday 15ty January when the ship was torpedoed. The ship sank in about 3 minutes. No lifeboats were put into the water as there was no time for this. For further particulars he referred to his signed statement. The captein and eleven of the crew were lost, all documents and crew's effects were also lost. Everything possible was done to save the crew in the darkness.

    To the numbered questions he replied as follows:-

    (1) By torpedo attack (2) No. (3) Yes. (4) Boats in position for easy launching. Boat drill 245h December 1939. (5) Ship in ballast. (9) August 1939, not been aground since. (10) All effects lost. (11) See statement. (12) No. (13) By torpedo attack.


    ... the First Witness, Ingvald Iversen, 2nd Officer stated that he was on the bridge when the torpedo struck the ship. He had heard the statement of Mr. Næss as read over, which he agreed as correct, and has signed it. Everything was done to save the crew. It was very dark at the time.

    To the numbered questions he replied as follows:-

    (1) By torpedo attack. (2) No. (3) Yes. (4) Swung out and properly equipped. Boat drill before leaving Gourock. (9) August 1940. Not been aground since. 810) Crew effects lost. (11) By destroyer. (12) No. (13) Sunk by torpedo.

    ... Second Wotmess. Kåre Berge ... Able Seaman, stated he was steering the s.s. "BRASK" when the ship was torpedoed. He had heard the reading of the Chief Officer's statement, which he agreed as correct, and signed it. He has nothing further to add.

    To the numbered questions he replied as follows:-

    (1) By torpedo attack. (2) No. (3) Yes. (4) Boats swung out in davits, and were properly equipped. Two liferafts. Each man had a lifesaving vest. Boat drill before leaving Gourock. (10) All effects lost. (11) By British destroyer. (12) No. (13) Ship sunk by torpedo.

    To the numbered question (14) put by the Assessors he replied as follows:-

    He was on a liferaft and afterwards got into a lifeboat. They pulled around to try and find others of the crew but everything was quiet. Everything was done to save the other memebers of the crew.