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.

May 3, 1941
Utenfor Cromer
Bombet [av tyske fly]
Blyth - London
Crew list
0 [0]
  • Abstract

    May 12, 1941
    Newcastle on Tyne
    Konsul P. Wisness
    To engelske kanonerer og en nordsjølos i tillegg til mannskapet - navn ukjent.


    Appeared Captain Albert Torleif Arntzen ... master of the s/s "Sitona" ...

    The vessel was on voyage from Blyth to London with a cargo of about 1600 tons coal. ...

    The master produced the vessel's deck log book and an extract, in conformity with same ...


    The master referred in every respect to the log book.

    The vessel was in completely seaworthy condition and all the lifesaving equipment was in the prescribed order.

    It was fine clear weather with some sea.

    The officer on watch was 2nd officer Guttorm Hofsnes, who was on the navigating bridge. The helmsman was A.B. Seaman Olaf Karlsen and the look-out man was ordinary seaman Audun Hervig, who was on the roof of the chart room.

    From his cabin the master suddenly heard that the vessel was violently shaken. He rushed out and up on the bridge where the engineer had arrived at the same time. The engine was partly smashed and no manoeuvres could be carried out. The water rose quickly in the engine room. It was clear to the master that the vessel could not be saved. There was a hole on the port side, and he estimated it to be about 1' in diameter. The hole was exactly on the water line. The pojectile cut through the vessel and made a hole on the starboard side of about 2' in diameter. This hole was about 1 1/2' to 2' above the water line.

    The master is unable to express any definite opinion as to whether the vessel was struck by a bomb, aerial torpedo or torpedo from a submarine, but he assumes as most probable that it was an aerial torpedo.

    When the master left the vessel at 0.15 o'clock the water was already standing over the fore deck on the port side and the vessel had commenced to develop a list.

    It was the master's intention to try to get the vessel out of the "fairway" by towing. There was also a hawser ready on board one of the Naval guardships, but the vessel sank so quickly that nothing could be done. From the bridge of the guardship the master saw the s.s. "Sitona" lying, practically speaking, level with the sea.

    Boat drill had been held contiually and regularly.

    On being questioned by the nautical assessor as to what was the position of the s/s "Sitona" in the convoy, the master replied that she was in the port column and there were probably 3 vessels astern of the s/s "Sitona".

    On being questioned as to whether he saw the attacking aeroplanes the master replied that steam was pouring out from the engine room in such great volumes that he could not see anything from amidships. Everything happened so quickly. He heard the noise of the attacking aeroplanes.


    Appeared the 1st witness, Pentz Hjalmar Pedersen ... stated that he was chief engineer on the s/s "Sitona" and was on watch in the engine room when the casualty occurred. The engine room log book was lost, but the witness produced a written report prepared on the basis of what he remembers from the scrap engine room log book ...


    Engine, boilers and pipe lines were in excellent order.

    The witness was in the engine room when, at about 23.10 o'clock, he heard a whining sound and immediately afterwards the engine room was filled with steam and water. The engine stopped soon after. Flames and sparks all over the engine room. The witness was knocked down on the engine room platform, but got up later.

    The witness heard that the vessel was struck first on the port side, and presumably the procjectile passed right through the ship and came out on the starboard side.


    Appeared as the 2nd witness, Guttorm Henry Hofsnes ... stated that he was 2nd officer on the s/s "Sitona" and was on watch on the bridge when the casualty occurred.

    Enemy aeroplanes were continually heard above, but none of them could be seen before the attacking aeroplane dived down low over the ship, it was just over the mast tops. The aeroplane came from the port side, right athwart the vessel. A projectile, which appeared to the witness to be different in its effect to the ordinary bombs, struck the ship on the port side amidship, passed through the vessel and thereafter exploded on the starboard side. The witness is of opinion it must have been an aerial torpedo.

    There was a large hole in the port side and water was pouring in.

    The master at once came on the bridge and the witness then ran along to ascertain the extent of the damage. On account of steam and smoke which poured out from the engine room and filled the amidship it was difficult to see.

    The ship and equipment were in good an prescribed order.


    Appeared as 3rd witness, Olaf julius Karlsen ... stated that he was A.B. Seaman on the s/s "Sitona" and it was during his turn at the wheel that the casualty occurred. He heard the sound of aeroplanes above the vessel. Thereafter one or two violent reports as the ship was struck. The engine room staff came up on the boat deck and the engine had stopped. The witness got into the starboard lifeboat together with the others of the crew with the exception of the master and a couple of men who remained on board for the time being.

    The lowering of the lifeboat was carried out in good order. From the lifeboat the witness saw a large hole in the starboard side out of which smoke and steam poured.

    The statement of the witness otherwise agreed with those of the other witnesses. The vessel sank gradually, but had no appreciable list when the witness left her.


    Appeared as 4th witness, Audun Magdalund Hervig ... stated that he was ordinary seaman on the s/s "Sitona" and was keeping a look-out from the roof of the wheel-house. A large aeroplane came in on the port side. It looked as if it was keeping near the surface of the sea and came flying in towards the s/s "Sitona" approximately amidship. The witness heard a report and thereafter saw two large water spouts on the starboard side. He assumes that these were due to the striking of the projectile. The vessel must have been struck on the port side and the projectile must thereafter have passed right through.

    The witness remained on board after the crew had gone into the lifeboat. He was then together with the master, the chief officer and the 2nd engineer. The vessel sank gradually. The witness could not notice any particular list. The water had begun to come in over the deck when the last men left the ship.