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Owner: D/S Marna A/S
Built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Wallsend, Sunderland in 1935.
Captain: William Thorsen
As will be seen on Page 1 above, Moira was at Cabanas when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, departing that day for New Orleans, where she arrived Apr. 12.
Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3. The latter document also shows some of her 1942 voyages, while the rest are listed on Page 4.
Moira departed New Orleans on June 14-1942 for Vera Cruz in ballast (another source says June 12 - see also Page 4). On June 17 she was torpedoed amidships, port side by U-158 (Rostin), 25 35N 96 20W (east/southeast of Port Isabel). The port side of the bridge was blown away, and the chart house, radio room and wheel house destroyed. The helmsman, Able Seaman Alf Kristensen was never seen again. The crew took to the lifeboats and had moved away from the ship when the U-boat started to shell her, and she eventually sank.
On June 18, the 18 in the lifeboats, 3 of whom were injured, were found by the fishing vessel Ranger (Skipper George Watie McNeir, here's a Guestbook message from his daughter), which towed them to Port Isabel, Texas.
U-158 had also been responsible for the attacks on Finnanger and Nidarnes - follow the links for more info. The boat was sunk on June 30 that same year with the loss of all on board - ref. link at the end of this page.
The captain's story:
Captain Thorsen says Moira didn't sink until the U-boat had fired at her from all sides, 30 rounds in his estimation, and she sank 1 1/2 hour after the torpedo had struck. They rowed around searching for the missing able seaman, but did not find him. The motorboat was found full of water and damaged, but a keg of drinking water was transferred to one of the lifeboats (I believe there were 2 boats) for future use. They then set sail on a northwesterly course in the hope of reaching Rio Grande (the time 09:30 is given).
The steward had a crushed knee and a couple of broken ribs, the 1st mate had sustained bad injuries to his face, while the cook had serious burns on his stomach after having gotten a kettle of boiling water over him. Their shipmates did what they could for them. An American aircraft flew over the next day, but though they waved and tried to attract attention as best they could it kept going. They later found out the pilot had thought they were fishermen. Later that same day they encountered a large fleet of fishing vessels, one of which came over and took them in tow, and a few days later they were relaxing at a hotel in New York. An inquiry was held there on June 24-1942 with the captain, the 2nd mate (officer on watch), Able Seaman Mikkelsen and the 1st engineer appearing.
On Aug. 20th Captain Thorsen was told to join D/T Frontenac, and again he was torpedoed - follow the link for details.
Related external links:
Back to Moira on the "Ships starting with M" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, "Menn uten medaljer", A. H. Rasmussen - (ref. My sources).