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
June 1, 1941
Location
Nær Aberdeen
Cause
Bombet, men kom seg inn til Aberdeen ved egen hjelp [av tyske fly]
Cargo
Ballast
Route
Immingham - Loch Ewe
Crew list
Delvis
  • Abstract

    Date
    June 26, 1941
    Location
    Newcastle on Tyne
    Administrator
    Consul P. Wisness

    ...

    Appeared master mariner Johan Severin Nygaard ...

    The master produced the ship´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 the manning and equipment according to regulations. Brand new lifeboats had just been bought at Halifax.

    There were 30 men on board and 4 English soldiers to serve the machine guns. All saved.

    The master at once came on deck when he heard the bombing commence. The officer on watch was 2nd officer Karl Fallang who was standing ready by the machine gun on the navigating bridge. At the second attack the attacking aeroplane was tunred away by the vessel´s 3 machine guns, which were served by the 2nd officer, the 3rd officer and one of the soldiers on board. It disappeared out to sea again after having dropped one bomb.

    Steam was rising from the engine room and it was reported that water was rising in the engine room.

    ...

    Appeared as 1st witness, Leif Bjarne Mørch ...

    ... the witness stated that he was the chief engineer on the M/S "Fernbank" and was in the engine room when the casualy occurred. The witness heard violent explosions and thought that the vessel had been struck by torpedo. Oil and water were sprayed over the top of the motor and the engine room became filled wieth steam. All the electric motors stopped, the lights went out and it was pitch dark. The main motor was still going, but quite slowly. We got up on deck, but thereafter went down again in order to stop the auxiliary motors. The main motor stopped by itself. During this came the second attack. When the witness came up on deck again after having stopped the auxiliary motors, everybody had got into the lifeboats except the vesssel´s master who was waiting for them on deck.

    They went into the lifeboat, but returned to the ship again when everything had become quiet. Auxiliary motors Nos. 2 and 3 were badly damaged, but No. 1 was started.

    ...

    Appeared as the 2nd witness, Karl Adolf Fallang ... stated that he was the 2nd officer on the M/S "Fernbank" and was on watch when the casualty occurred.

    He heard the aeroplanes in the neighbourhood, but could not see any until he observed a dark shadow coming in towards the starboard bow right down on the water. The witness ran for the machine gun. The aeroplane was then rising and firing at the ship from ahead with machine guns and continuing along the starboard side. When it was approximately level with the tops of the masts it dropped several bombs which fell a distance from the ship´s side on the starboard quarter. The rear gunner on the aeroplane fired at the vessel with machine gun.

    The witness did not hear that the machine guns on the upper bridge were being fired and ran up and gtave ordres that they should fire. Two more aeroplanes were observered and one of them was now coming in towards the ship at a low altitude, and first opened fire with machine guns and then dropped three bombs which exploded in succession, one of which fell close by the ship´s side. During this the witness was all the time firing the machine gun. the machine gun aft was also used.

    The witness heard shouting: "The ship is sinking". The witness took with him the machine gun and got into the lifeboat. The whole of the crew were present. When the situation had been considered, it was decided to go on board again. The vessel came i to Aberdeen by own means.

    ...

    Appeared as the 3rd witness, Arne Pettersen ... stated that he was A. B. Seaman on the M/S "Fernbank" and was at the wheel when the casualty occurred. The witness had just taken over his watch at 12 o´clock when he heard violent reports and shaking of the whole vessel. The light went out in the compass and the officer on watch was informed of this. Received orders to stand by on the boat deck. The witness saw an aeroplane quite close to the ship. The witness took part in the work of getting the lifeboat lowered.

    Otherwise, the statement of the witness agreed with those of the other witnesses. While the men were getting the boats ready the aeroplanes fired at them with machine guns.

    ...

    Statement made 25th June 1941 by A. B. Seaman Arthur Johannes Pedersen:

    ... the witness stated that he was look-out man when the attack took place. The witness was on the 12 till 4 watch during the night. It was hazy weather. Just after he had come on watch the witness observed a bomber aeroplane right ahead. He at once reported this to the soldier who was on watch on the upper bridge. The latter first made sure that it was correct that an aeroplane was approaching and set about making the machine gun ready. The witness returned to the navigating bridge and now saw the aeroplane rigtht ahead on the starboard side of the bow. The witness sought cover in the wheel house. A couple of seconds afterwards the bombs began to drop. They did not hit the vessel, vut fell close by the ship´s side. The 2nd officer now came out of the chart room and shouted to the soldier that he should firfe. When the aeroplane made the second circuit round the vessel the witness heard firing from the ship´s machine guns. All the men were now assembled on deck and sought shelter in the aqmidship passage. The bombs were still not hitting the vessel, but were falling quite close to the ship´s side and the vessel was shaking violently. The master was on the bridge, likewise the 2nd and 3rd officer. The lights went out.

    The witness saw that the aeroplane was firing at the vessel with machine guns and hit the ship on the port side.

    The master gave orders that they were to go to the boats. The boats were made ready. The port lifeboat had however been shaken loose from the tackles and fallen down. It was full of water and was floating on the tanks. They managed to get away from the ship in the other boats in case the aeroplane should come back and resume the bombing. As, however, the aeroplane did not return, the master, the chief officer, the 2nd officer and the engine room staff returned to the ship. An auxiliary motor was started and the lifeboats were hove on board. The engine was started and they managed to get in to Aberdeen by own means.

    ...