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.
Appeared Master Mariner Karl Hjellestad ...
The vessel was on voyage from Boutouche to Belfast for orders. The vessel was, on departure, in completely seaworthy condition.
The crew consisted of, in all, 17 men including the master. No one perished. No passengers.
The vessel's log books were lost when the ship went down, but the master had prepared a written report about the causalty. This was produced and read out. ...
The master refers in all respects to the written report.
The following were on the bridge when the casualty occurred:-
Chief Officer Arnfinn Bentsen,
Jr. Ordinary Seaman John Underwood,
Ordinary Seaman Mario P. Mori.
On being asked, the master replied that it was out of the question that the casualty could be due to explosion in the engines, boilers or such like. Further, it was out of the question that it can be due to the nature of the cargo or the loading.
The master stated that the casualty was due to torpedoing, and he is basing this on the fact that after the explosion he saw a large hole in the starboard side. A plate was seen to have been torn out. That subsequently he saw and was in contact with the submarine makes him quite certain in the matter that the casualty was due to a torpedo.
On being questioned by the assessors as regards the speed of the convoy, the master replied that this had been given as 7 1/2 miles. The master had given the vessel's probable speed in fine weather as 7 knots, but they were aware that it was likely that the vessel vould lose the convoy. The same thing had happened on the voyage across.
The prescribed boat drills had been carried out, but the master could not state exact date.
Appeared as 1st witness, Arnfinn Bentsen ... the witness stated that it was overcast, but partly moon light when the casualty occurred. There was nothing unusual to observe. Suddenly, a violent explosion was heard, which in his opinion came from a place between Nos. 1 and 2 hatches. The bridge was smashed. The whole of the crew now came up and went to the lifeboats. After having lowered both lifeboats they tried to get out the motor boat, but as the deck cargo had been thrown over the winch by the explosion it was impossible to get it out.
After the explosion and after the crew had got into the boats they were hailed by a submarine. The witness saw the vessel sink, probably about 20 minutes after the explosion. On being questioned as regards the state of the vessel after the explosion, the witness stated that there was nothing to be seen on the port side. The wheel house had collapsed, but the helsmsman was unhurt.
The witness considers that the average speed of the vessel during the voyage to have been about 6 1/2 miles. They reckoned on, on departure, that they would not be able to keep up with the convoy as the speed of this was 7 1/2 miles.
The witness considers it as quite out of the question that the casualty was due to any defects of the vessel, the engine, pipe leads etc. He is certain that it is due to torpedo fired by the submarine which was later hailing the crew. He is of opinion that by the dialect of the hailer he was able to come to the conclusion that the submarine was German.
Appeared as 2nd witnes, Erling Rasch Eylertsen ...
... the witness stated that he was the 2nd engineer on the s/s "Lotos" and was on watch in the engine room when the casualty occurred. It might have been about 11.35 o'clock when the witness heard a heavy report which appeared to come form the forward part of the ship. The witness ran up on to the boat deck after having stopped the engine.
On being questioned as to whether the explosion might be though to be due to boilers, pipe leads or such like, the witness replied that this was out of question. He went back to the engine room in order to fetch a hacksaw and did not then find anything either which would indicate that there was anything the matter with engines or boilers. The electric light was still burning.
All machinery and boilers were in complete order when the voyage was commenced.
When the vessel was struck the engine was going at full speed, about 67 revolutions.
The witness saw a submarine after the crew had got into the boats; it might have been about 20 minutes after the vessel had been struck.
The witness saw the vessel go down, probably about 10-15 minutes after the explosion.
Appeared as 3rd witness, Niesl Nielsen ... the witness stated that he was the steward on the s/s "Lotos". The witness was lying in his bunk. He was flung out of the bunk by a violent explosion in the forward part of the vessel. After they had got into the lifeboats they were hailed by a submarine. The evidence of the witness otherwise agrees with that of the other witnesses. He saw the vessel sink.