Sjøforklaring 1939 - 1945

Informasjonen nedenfor vedr. skip i Nortraships flåte er direkte avskrift av orginalkilden "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". Informasjonen her er fra sjøforklaringer holdt under og rett etter krigen og kan derfor avvike noe fra den øvrige kvalitetssikrede informasjonen i Krigsseilerregisteret.

21. mars 1944
20o48' nord, 59o38' øst
Torpedert [av japansk ubåt]
Aden - Abadan
7 [4]

    After finishing discharging at Aden on March 17th at 0955 hours we commenced taking water ballast. At 1545 hours pilot came on board and we steered from harbour at his direction. Disembarked pilot at 1600 hours. Draft on departure - forward 14' 0" aft 19' 0".

    The ship was fully seaworthy and equipped and manned to the total of 42 men as per regulations existing. Before leaving Aden we recdeived N.O.S.O's Sailing Routine Instructions, &c. to sail independently to Abadan. The journey continued without unusual occurence - a zig zag course was carried out throughout. Zig zag was altered on the evening of March 20th.

    On March 21st 1304 ship's time the ship was struck on the port side by three torpedoes in less than ten seconds. The first torpedo struck the after section of the engine room - most probably the Boiler Room. Numer Two Torpedo struck No. I Port Wing Tank. Number Three Torpedo struck No. 2 port wing tank. Tanks numbering from aft.

    Result of the first torpedo was the entire poop being lifted high from the water accompanied by flame, steam, smoke, and oil rising high in the air. Number Two Torpedo caused the after section to break down and sink. Number Three Torpedo broke the ship off approximately at No. 4 Centre Tank. The ship had now a heavy list of about 60o to port, and it was expected that the whole ship would capsize immediately. After the ship was now below the water surface all crew aft were in the water and swimming away.

    Both Port Life Boats were destroyed by the explosions. The heavy list made launching of the starboard life boats impossible. The tackle rope was cut before the men were forced to jump into the sea. The entire disaster took place in less than one minute's time.

    After all men had jumped into the water the whole after ship broke off and the foreship leveled up slightly. In the meantime three life saving rafts broke loose and floated amongst the wreckage. The motor life boat fell into the sea as the foreship began to level up. Several small rafts made on the ship for such an emergency came in very useful for the swimmng men. Some crew members managed to get into the floating Motor Life Boat and began picking up others from the wrecaged and other rafts. Later on the starboard stern lifeboat was found floating capsized and after most of the crew had been picked up they righted it amd emptied it owf water. During the course of picking up the survivors from the oil covered - shark infested waters the submarine surfaced and fired two shells towards the remainder of the ship. But the shells struck the water harmlessly amongst the survivors.

    As the fore ship levelled up partially we had intentions of entering the ship to release the reamining forward starboard life raft and also get the life boat transmitter which was in the wheel house. The Radio Transmitters were rendered completely in-operative by the violent explosion and shock so there was no possibility of radiating distress signals. There was no possibility of taking the life boat transmitter off the ship due to the fact no time or life boat was available. The shells fired by the submarine was an obvious warning not to enter the remainder of the ship so we the began to pull away and it began to take a greater list towards port, completely capsizing in about half an hour and settled gradually in the water. The submarine then submerged and we saw no more of it.

    After all survivors were resaned from the water and a further search revealed nothing more, both boats pulled together. The crew was checked and three men were discovered missing, apparntly killed by the explosion - which were Second Cook Gunnar O. Martinsen, Norwegian citizen, British Gunner Donald Boll and Fireman Geoffrey Leis, also a British citizen. Martinsen and Boll were last seen in hammocks slung hunder the after gun deck and were most probably killed by the first explosion. Lewis was in the Boiler Room and considered killed in the first explosion also.

    Ships position when torpedoed was latitude 20o48' north Longitude 59o38' East. Following consideration of the circumstances it was decided to steer for the Arabian Coast West. At 1700 hours the motor boat was started and took in tow the other life boat and raft. About half hour later the motor ceased to opreate and it was decided to release the life raft and to part company and to sail for land independently as rapidly as possible to obtain medical attendance for the injured presonnel. The most seriously burned were the following - Peder Pederse Thrid Engingeer - Motorman Anton Jørgensen, Youngman Francis Topham, Salonboy Tom Daniel and Able Seaman Ellef Dahl. Those suffering most from cuts and lacerations were Motorman Paul Jensen and Mess Boy Robert Haldane. The unjured men were divided between the two boats and first aid was given in the life boats and further treatment contiued during the journey.

    During the evening we saw the loom of the "Masira" Island Beacon but it disappeared shortly afterwards and the wind freshened from the south and set the boat in a northerly direction from the island. The wind continued throughout the night and at dawn March 22nd we could vaguely discern the coast end the course was maintained for shore. During the night the two boats drifted from sight of each other and in the afternoon at 1600 hours as the life boat came close to shore the course was altered to continue north along the coast as it was impossible to reach Masira Island against the adverse wind and sea.

    The life boat continued to follow the coast in hope of reaching a populated place and obtaining the urgently required medical attendance. At 1700 hours an Arabian Fishing Boat was sighted lying at anchor and was hailed by sign language in an effort to obtain information of the nearest possibel medical and communicational assistance. An agreement was made that the Arab should pilot or direct the life boat to a white settlement he knew of, where full facilities would be available. After one and a half hours sailing the motor life boat was again sighted and later contacted and then the two boats continues northward together.

    At dusk the wind calmed and it was decided to anchor for the night. During the night Motorman Anton Jørgensen died from his severe burns. At three o'clock in the morning the wind freshened and we resumed sailing northward under the Arab's guidance. The crew had been the whole time working on the motor of the boat in an effort to get it to operate. At eight o'clock in the morning the motor began to function properly and steered northwards with the life boat in tow under the arab's direction. At 1600 hours we arrived at Ras el Hadd and an RAF station where the injured persons immediately underwent treatment at the camp hospital.

    After the injured had been cared for a good meal, water soap and clothes were given us by the RAF station to the maximum of their supply. After sunset Motorman Anton Jørgensen was buried on RAF ground with a simple but sincere ceremony at which all the uninjured were present.

    Shortly after our arrival, telegrams were sent through RAF to C in C Eastern Command informing him of the ship's torpedoing and the fate of the crew. Full particulars were later given to Ellison Comander of the Ras el Hadd RAF Station to be forwareded to the proper authorities. The Six injured men were ordered by the Camp Doctor to be sent to the Britih General Hospital at Karachi, India for further treatment. The following morning March 24th two aircraft arrived and the six injured previously mentioned were flown to Karachi for their further treatment - three of them being in critical condition.

    All Log Books and Secret Books went down with the ship as there was no time to save it.

    March 24th in the morning received ordres for C.I.C. that the remainer of the Crew should embarke H.M.I.S. "Investigator" and go to Persian Gulf. Left the same afternoon. Arrived Base Ship Persian Gulf Sunday March 26th. Stayed there untill Wednesday March 29th, when all Crew was transfered over to Dutch ship "Noesaniwi", and go as passengers. Arrived Suez April 14th 1944.

    Suez April 14th 1944

    Kaare Helgesen, 2nd Officer

    J. Eikeland, Chief Officer

    Alf Toftevaag, Chief Engineer

    Johan Skogland, Able Seaman

    Johan Tollefsen, Able Seaman

    A. H. Aardahl, Master


    M.T. "GRENA"

    The Officers and Crew of m.t. "GRENA" arrived in Suez on the 14th. April, 1944. We placed the seamen in the Merchant Navy Club and the Officers in the Bel Air Hotel. Captain Aardahl had fortunately saved the ship's accounts, and was able to make up the accounts for each man and paid them off on the 17th. and 18th. of April. Some of the crew have been placed in other ships, and we will be able to place some more of them, but for the present the crew want leav eand as they have been aboard the ship for six months or more, we cannot refuse them permission to stay ashore for some time. It is very few ships going to U.K. and it is difficiult to obtain a passage for surplus officers and crew, but we have applied to the Ministry of War Transport in Cairo if they have a place for them in a ship leaving to U.K. but up to now, we have received no repoly from the Ministry. We have had no Norwegian ships in that direction for a long time, and if a ship is going, the Captains are, as a rule, very reluctant to take an extra crew owing to the shortage of lifeboats accomodations. The real reason is that they have trouble enough with the crew they already have aboard and do not want any more aboard if they can avoid it, and lack of lifeboat is a valid execuse. The GRENA had a few elderly men aboard. Those hav to be sent away and besides those, we have som there is difficult to place owing to ill health and several are suffering from nervouseus. The crew had been paid in form of "ANVISNING" on Nortraship, and they are drawing on that from us. Some of them had 3 - 4000 kroner coming to them and before most of that is spent, they are not very willing to go aboard again. A number of the crew can take care of themselves, but others cannot.

    Captain Aardahl made up his accounts and gave it to us, and we posted them through Navy Channels on the 29th. April we are keeping a copy in our office for our refernce and mailing later if the accounts sent you do not reach you safely.

    Captain Aardahl wished for many reasons to go to New York. We told him that our instructions were that surplus officers and crew should be sent to U.K. As it is no prospects of being sent to U.K. in the near future, and he could go aboard the MORGARETHE BAKKE for New York, we did not insist on keeping him here, but explained to him that he could not come on the pool in U.S.A. but went over there on his own account.

    Maritime Declaration for the GRENA was held on the 19th. April, but owing to the Consul being away, we were not finished with that before the 26th. April, and we experienced some difficulties in keeping the members of the crew we require for signing the declaration in Suez for that length of time, as som of the crew wanted to go to Cairo and Alexandria for a holiday.

    Please find enclosed copies of the abstract of the Log Book for the m.t. "GRNA". The Maritime Declaration will be sent by thje Consul in the usual manner.

    Yours faithfully,

    T. Davidson

    Superintendent Captain