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.

Date
December 21, 1941
Cause
Torpedert [av tysk ubåt]
Cargo
Ballast
Route
Lisboa - Gibraltar - Melilla
Crew list
Komplett
Survived
41
Captured
0
Deceased
0 [0]
Missing
0
  • Abstract

    Date
    December 23, 1941
    Location
    Major J. G. Douglas T.D., konsul

    ...

    Kaptein Brink Olsen fremsto og erklerte at han var fører av s.s. "HELLEN ...

    "HELLEN" avgikk fra Gibraltar 21. desember 1941 kl. 8.00 em. i ballast bestemt til Melilla for å laste jernmalm. Ved avgangen var skibet i enhver henseende i full sjødyktig stand. Han fremla undertegnede forklaringer da både dekk- og maskindagbøker gikk tapt med skibet.- Kapteinen henviste til forklaringen og erklerte videre at: Ved avgang fra Gibraltar Vi fulge eskorteskibet i overensstemmelse med mottatt instruksjoner og alt gikk bra inntil kl. omtrent 11.10 em, da 3. styrmann, som holdt utkik fra babord side på broen, så kjølvannet av 2 torpedoer som nærmet seg skibet med stor fart. Før han fikk tid til å synge ut, traff begge to skibet og eksploderte. Den første traff like mellem Nr. 1 og Nr. 2 rum og gjorde sansynligvis skade på skottet, den andre i Nr. 2 rummet. Begge torpedoene traff skibets babord side. Skibet begynte øieblikkelig å synke med baugen. Kapteinen sto på styrbord side på broen og ble kastet ned på hoveddekket av trykket, hvilket også hendte med 3. styrmann.- Kapteinen mistet en tid bevisstheten. Da han kom til seg selv igjen ordret han maskinen stoppet ved hjelp av hurtiglukkeren på båtdekket. Under ledelse av 1ste styrmann låret mannskapet en av styrbord livbåter. Da denne var komt på vannet, gikk 6 à 7 mann ned i den ved å fire seg ned båttaljene. Skibet hadde nu styrbord slagside. 2den og 3die styrmann begynte å gjøre klar en av babord livbåter, men før de låret den, fyrte de av tre raketter for å påkalle eskortens oppmerksomhet. Skibet, som var meget dypt i vannet forut, syntes å stoppe og synke mere, men da huftiglukkeren for maskinen ikke hadde fungeret fortsatte propellen å gå rundt over vannet. Babord livbåt ble satt på vannet og 2. styrmann, 3. styrmann og resten av mannskapet gikk i denne. Kapteinen, 1. styrmann og de fleste av mannskapet var i styrbord livbåt.

    Hele mannskapet i begge båter ble tatt opp av et britisk eskorteskib etter omtrent tre kvart time. Begge båtene ble forlatt.

    Kapteinen og mannskapet mistet alle sine privat eiendele.

    Lysene ombord på skibet sluktes kl. omtr. 12.45 fm. da skibet inntok en skarpere vinkel, og det antaes at skibet sank omtrent kl. 1.00 fm. da man etter den tid, ikke så mere tegn til det.

    Skibet ble torpedert uten noen som helst varsel.

    Hele mannskapet ble brakt til Gibraltar om morgenen den 22de desember av eskorteskibet, Ombord der fikk de meget god behandling, og ved landsettelsen ble de tatt vare på av den Norske Konsul som arrangerte med oppholdet der samt sørget for det nødvendigste.

    ...

    First Witness:- The Chief Engineer, Erling Kristoffersen ...

    He was officer of the watch in the Engine Room on the night of 21st December 1941, from 8.00 p.m.

    The voyage from Gibraltar was normal until about 10.50 p.m. when an order came from the bridge to incrase speed if possible, so he went to the main stop valve and opened it slightly to increase the revolutions. He stayed for a few minutes to see how the engines responded, then just before 11.00 p.m. he went to his room leaving the donkeyman in charge. He had not been in his room for more than one minute when he heard the explosion. The ship began to take a heavy list and went down by the head and he went out on deck, with his lifebelt on.

    He went to the emergency stop gear on the boat deck to try and stop the engines, but this was probably damaged by the explosion because the wire broke and the engines continued to run with the propeller out of the water.

    He sent to help launch the Starboard lifeboat, and got into it with most of the crew when launched. He had no opportunity of saving the engine room logbook, or any of his effects.

    The Captain got into the boat, which contained most of the crew, and they were picked up by a British escort vessel within about half an hour.

    They were well treated on board the British Warship and whilst on board the lights on the "Hellen" went out and the ship was no more to be seen, there is little doubt that she sank in deep water.

    They were taken to Gibraltar where they were taken charge of by The Norwegian consul, who found accomodation for all and provided necessaries.

    ...

    Second Witnes:- The Third Officer, German Rasmussen ...

    On the night of 21st December, 1941 he was Officer of the watch on deck from 8.00 p.m. The voyage was normal after leaving Gibraltar until about 10.50 p.m. when more speed was ordered to the engine room, in order to keep up with the escort vessel.

    He was standing at the port side of the bridge, looking ahead, when about 11.00 p.m. he saw the tracks of two torpedoes coming towards the ship on the port side, at a high rate of speed, and from slightly aft of abeam. They both struck the ship almost simultaneously. One of the between No. 1 and No. 2 Holds near the bulkhead, the second about abreast of No. 2 Hatch. The ship took a list to Starboard, and started to sink by the head rapidly. He was blown off the bridge by the blast of the explosion down to the lower bridge.

    He went to call the Chief and Second Officers from their rooms, then he went back to the bridge to look for the Captain who he thought might have bee blown overboard.

    The Second Officer came to him on the bridge and we sent up four rockets, he assisted the Second Officer to throw the weighted canvas bag containing the Confidential books overobard. After that he and the Second Officer got in the Port lifeboat which had been lowered into the water by some of the crew who were already in it.

    They pulled away from "Hellen" towards the Escort Vessel which picked them up in about three quarters of an hour.

    He had no doubt that the "Hellen" sank in deep water, the deck logbook and all the effects of the officers and crew were lost with the ship.

    They were well treated on the escort vessel, which brought them to Gibraltar where they were taken charge of by the Norwegian Consul, who arranged accomodation and necessaries.

    ...