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Manager: Haakon J. Wallem, Bergen
Built by W. Dobson & Co., Walker-on-Tyne in 1911.
Captain: Alf Vasdal
From Page 1, we learn that Breiviken was on a voyage from Hong Kong to Calcutta when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She arrived her destination on May 3, having stopped at Singapore on the way. It'll also be noticed that she had quite a long stay in Hong Kong that summer; other long stays in port are also shown. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document, while the rest of her voyages can be found on Page 2. As can be seen, she spent a long time in Lourenço Marques in 1942. She had arrived there from Mombasa on June 24 and departure is given as Aug. 14, when she returned to Mombasa. She had another long stay in Lourenço Marques later that year, having arrived (again from Mombasa) on Sept. 10; she did not leave again until Dec. 14, proceeding to Durban, where she arrived 2 days later (remaining for almost a month). She also had some long stays in port in the course of 1943.
Breviken was torpedoed and sunk by U-178 (Dommes) off Portugese East Africa on July 4-1943, 21 50S 37 50E, when on a voyage from Lourenço Marques and Durban to Mombasa with a cargo of 3812 tons coal, having departed Durban alone* on July 1 - see Page 2. The torpedo hit on the starboard side between No. 1 and 2 holds, causing her to list to starboard and sink in a couple of minutes, so there was no time to launch the lifeboats. An attempt had been made to lower the port boat and some men were in it, but due to the heavy list, it capsized before it reached the water. Able seaman Kose tried to cut the ropes, but went down with the boat. When he came to the surface, he was able to climb onto the keel.
Most of the crew went over the rail and down the port side of the ship; some were able to get onto debris and 2 rafts that floated up (a 3rd raft was destroyed). 20 men were taken aboard the U-boat, where the captain was questioned by an officer who spoke very good Norwegian. They were also filmed and photographed, but when the smoke from another ship was sighted, they were placed on the rafts while the U-boat took off to pursue it (U-178's next victim was the Greek Michael Livanos, sunk that same day).
The port boat and another capsized lifeboat were righted and bailed and the 33 survivors distributed themselves in them. They reached the coast of Portugese East Africa on July 7, where they were taken care of by the lighthouse keeper and his wife. The 2nd mate, who had been injured, was sent by plane from Inhambane to Lourenço Marques, where he was treated for his injuries at a hospital, before being sent with the others to Durban and admitted to a hospital there.
Out of a crew of 34 and 2 gunners, 3 crew had drowned, namely the British Radio Operator Benjamin C. Regan, the 3rd engineer (Norwegian) and the South African engineroom boy. The 3rd engineer had last been seen lowering himself down into the port boat (the one that capsized). From the deck of the U-boat, the captain had seen a body in the water which he believed to be that of the engineer. He had also seen the radio operator coming out of the radio station and going down the side of the ship into the water.
For info, U-178 had also been responsible for the loss of Hai Hing the year before - follow the link for details.
Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemoration - The 3rd engineer is commemorated.
Back to Breiviken on the "Ships starting with B" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum), partial Voyage Record received from D. Kindell, based on Arnold Hague's database, and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.