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.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. ARTHUR G. PEDERSEN AS TO THE LOSS OF HIS SHIP
We left Barrydock on October 10th at 15.30 bound for Quebec via Milford Haven for a Convoy. Friday 11th October arrived at Milford Haven and on Saturday 12th October at 15 o'clock left Milford Haven with usual sailing instructions from the Admiralty. Tuesday 15th at 3.30 two ship ahead of us were sunk, who were also in the Convoy. Thursday October 17th at 2.45 weather conditions were then westerly breeze with some swell, moonlight with partly cloudy skies. Position was then North Latitude 60g and 46 minutes - West Longitude 16g and 30 minutes. The Ship was entirely blown off. The Ship sank with stern first in less than one minute. The 2nd Officer was on watch on the bridge and wheelhouse - the lookout man who was on top of the chart-room on the Monkey Island jumped on a lifeboat and cut it loose but at the same time it was washed away by the sea, the same thing happened with an Officer and sailor who were on the starboard.
I left the bridge about fifteen minutes before the explosion and was down in my room on the boat deck and after I came out on deck I saw there was nothing else to do but jump right over the side of the boat. I got hold of one of the rafts by means of boards and got hold of the 1st Officer and two of the sailor. I heard one man crying for help and we were able to get the raft over to him and he turned out to be one of the sailors who had been wounded and had been drifting on one of the hatches. Outside of this there was no one to be seen or heard on the water.
The 2nd Officer and wheelman managed to get on the other raft and there was a lot of wreckage on the water especially from the crews quarters - then the submarine surfaced and came over to the raft and asked the Ship's name and tonnage to which I gave a false name and tonnage; then we could see the Convoy escort apporaching and the submarine left. We hailed the escort to advise them that a submarine was in the vicinity. We managed to get the two rafts lashed together, one of the rafts was badly damaged by the explosion and we kept on the rafts and shared our couthing endeavouring to sustain life, and burned a few flares to advise the escort, who was busy chasing the submarine, of our position. About 9 A.M. October 18th the escort came and picked us up - we were given the best treatment possible and the ship's injured man given doctor's care. Arrived at Sydney on October 23rd where the Norwegian Consul met us and provided us with necessary clothes and lodging.
All the Ship's papers were lost and the men lost their papers and belongings. The log attached to this statement is given to the best of my knowledge from memory.
STATEMENT OF 1st OFFICER PEDER JANSEN
Ques: Were you on watch at the time the Ship was torpedoed?
Q: How long after the Ship was struck did it sink?
A: About one minute.
Q: Were the lifeboats launched?
A: We endeavoured to launch the lifeboats but they were washed away by the sea.
Q: What part of the Ship were you in?
A: In my room.
Q: Did you feel that everything was done that could have been done under the conditions to save your men?
Q: Your ship was in good condition in every way and there wasn't anything that could have been done, as it was entirely an act of the eneny?
STATEMENT OF SEAMAN GEORGE HANSEN
Q: Mr. Hansen were you on deck when your Ship was torpedoed?
A: Yes, I was on the look-out.
Q: After the ship was struck there was no chance of doing anything with the lifeboats?
A: None at all.
Q: There was no time to do anything for anybody - it was every man for himself?
Q: Were you made comfortable on board the Ship that picked you up?
Q: As far as you know everything was done that could have been done?
Copies of the Ship's diaries in NOrwegian are attached hereto given to the best of the Captain's ability by memory, which was necessary due to the fact that all the Ship's papers were lost.