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.

August 4, 1943
Til ankers i Gibraltar-bukten
Undervannseksplosjon [utført av italienske bemannede torpedoer]
Fuel oil
Gibraltar - Nord-Afrika
Crew list
0 [0]
  • Extract of the Log-Book of the Norwegian Motor Tanker "THORSHØVDI" of Sandefjord, Norway

    Tuesday 3rd August, 1943

    In the forenoon we received orders that the ship would move out from the Admiralty Harbour and go to an anchorage ooutside in the Commercial Anchorage until sailing time on the morning of the 4th August 1943.

    At 1900 the ship shifted out assisted by an Admiralty Pilot and one tug. Outside the entrance of the Admiralty Harbour the ship was taken over by a Commercial Anchorage Pilot and he said that he had received orders to put the ship at anchor on the West Side of the Bay. At 1940 hours we anchored with the Starboard Anchor and 90 fathoms of chain right over on the Spanish side of the Bay. The Captain gave orders to the 1st Officer to put good watches on deck and darken the ship, and orders were also given about sailing at 0445 hours on the morning of the 4th. The cargo consisted of 10690 tons of Admiralty fuel oil.

    The crew were working during the evening to make the ship ready for sea, swinging out lifeboats etc., and finished this work at about 0040 hours on the morning of the 4th August, 1943.

    Wednesday 4th August, 1943

    At 0410 hours everybody was shaken by a terrific explosion. It was very dark and fuel oil from the tanks were thrown up into the air due to the explosion and nothing could be seen owing to this. The ship was going down in the middle just by No. 6 Centre Tank and very loud cracks could be heard. As there was a danger that the ship would break in two orders were given to all on board the vessel to take to the lifeboats and stay close to the ship until daylight came. All amidships including the Captain went into the Port midship lifeboat, which was found to be filled with oil and water and was floating on the tanks. Later it was found that a large piece of iron had pierced the bottom of the lifeboat and had made a big hole.

    One of the British Naval patrol boats came near and we asked for six men from the Port lifeboat to be taken on board their vessel which they did.

    The rest of the crew were safe in two other of the ship's lifeboats off the afterpart of the vessel. All hands were in good condition and there were no casualties.

    Onboard the patrol boat they said that they had been circling the ship all night dropping depth charges. The patrol boat had to go to another ship and whilst we were lying alongside this vessels explosions came from her and shortly afterwards another ship started to explode.

    Later in the morning th anchor chain was out and the ship was towed over to the Gibraltar side of the Bay and anchored in shallow water. The vessel is aground amidships and big pieces of iron plates, also lots of small pieces and rivets which had been thrown into the air by the explosion were lying all over the vessel. Luckily enough none of the crew were injured.

    On the afterdeck there was lying 59 depth charges some these had disappeared, whether some of these had exploded or fell overboard is not known. No visible damage has been found with the machinery.

    Thursday 5th August, 1943

    Lloyd's Surveyor and the local representative of the Ministry of War Transport came onboard to have a look at the damage caused and to arrange for the discharge of the balance of cargo which was usable. The Port Anchor which was cut and buoyed has now been taken up and placed aft on the ship with 50 fathoms of heavy wire. The ship has now two anchors out fore and aft. The crew are still living onboard.

    Gibraltar in August 1943

    G. Foss, Chief Engineer

    E. Andersen, 2nd Officer

    A. Svensen, Captain