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Ocean type tanker built by Harland & Wolff Ltd., Govan. 8221 gt, 483 ft (oa), 465.6 ft x 59.5 ft. Engines: Oil. Launched on Aug. 21-1941, completed in Dec.-1941 as Empire Onyx
This was 1 of 19 ships transferred to Nortraship in 1942. Empire Ships on my page "Ship Statistics & Misc." gives the names of the other 18 transferred to the Norwegian flag in 1942. Nortind was taken over at Barry on March 14. She had previously arrived U.K. as Empire Onyx in Convoy HX 174 from Halifax.
Captain: Paul Monsen, later Jacob O. Jensen
Related items on this website:
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the Norwegian National Archives.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
Errors may exist, and some voyages may be missing.
According to a personal story I've come across, Nortind was in a convoy (Key West, bound for West Indies) that lost 11 tankers out of 13 in March-1942. I'm not sure which convoy this could have been; A. Hague has included her in several Key West convoys, but that was much later in the year. Besides, she was still in the U.K. that month, so I believe the author of this story remembers the date wrong*. Nortind is listed, along with Haakon Hauan, Helgøy, Norsktank (returned), Salamis, Spinanger and Vinland, in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 77**, which originated in Liverpool on March 17 and dispersed on the 28th, Nortind arriving Galveston on Apr. 7, proceeding to Beaumont the next day. On Apr. 26 she headed back to the U.K. in Convoy HX 187 from Halifax. This convoy arrived Liverpool on May 8; Nortind arrived Stanlow on May 9, according to the archive document. She later left Birkenhead in ballast on May 22 in the westbound Convoy ON 97**, bound for New York/Norfolk/Texas City (this convoy arrived Halifax on June 5, Nortind arrived New York June 7). She had again been in the company of several other Norwegian ships, namely B.P. Newton, Brant County, Brimanger, Cetus, Gallia and Norfjell, as well as the Panamanian Norvik, which is listed under the N's of this website because she had Norwegian managers.
As mentioned above, Nortind had arrived U.S. again early in June-1942. She subsequently appears in the Hampton Roads to Key West Convoy KS 510 (external link), which left Hampton Roads on June 13 and also included B. P. Newton, N. T. Nielsen Alonso, Norfjell and the Panamanian Norvik. From the archive document, we learn that Nortind was bound for Texas City.
When about 15 n. miles south/southwest of South West Pass. Light (position 28 41N 89 34W) on June 20, she was damaged by a torpedo from U-67 (Müller-Stöckheim). According to a memorandum dated July 3-1942, based on survivors' statements, she was on charter to British Trade Corporation at the time. Time of attack is given as 04:30 CWT, she was in ballast (3000 tons of water), on a course 262° true, not zig-zagging, blacked out, radio silent, sailing at a speed of 12 knots, in cloudy weather with a calm sea, no moonllight, light southerly breeze, good visibility, no other ships in sight. There were 3 lookouts, 2 on the bridge, 1 on the stern poop deck. She was struck on the port side below the bridge, 8' below the water line, resulting in a 50' long x 40' wide hole in her hull, with plates projecting outward parallel to the water. No. 4 pump room was flooded, as were holds No. 4, 5 and 6 and the wing and center tanks. Nortind initially listed 15°-20° to starboard, but then came back on an even keel, later developing a slight list to port.
Shortly before the explosion occurred the lookout had seen the wake of a torpedo passing in front of the bow, missing her by about 100', and he was about to report this when the ship was struck (the torpedo that hit her was not seen). About 15 minutes later the captain spotted the spray from a periscope on the port beam, so ordered the 1st mate to instruct the gunners aft to keep a close lookout, and fire immediately if they saw anything. Course was immediately altered 90° to starboard in order to put the wake of the periscope dead astern, and she proceeded northerly for about an hour, before altering to N 22° E true. The U-boat abandoned the chase after 2-3 miles, and was last seen a little over an hour after the attack, on a course 350° true in a westerly direction, still with only the periscope visible.
Captain at that time was Paul Monsen who was in his cabin when the explosion occurred. On the bridge were 1st Mate Bakke, Able Seaman Andresen (lookout), and Deck Boy Dibb (at the helm). By the aft guns were Oscar Orud and Gunner Walter G. Woodland. 2nd Radio Operator Cornelius Blake was in the radio station, but 1st Radio Operator Einar Axelsen took over a few minutes later, Blake having been injured by items that had fallen down in the station. The receiver had been destroyed, but the transmitter was operable and Axelsen sent repeated SOS about their situation. (The memorandum says "The switchboard was jarred loose from the bulkhead and after a slight delay, radio silence was broken to advise of attack, using 600 meters. Unknown if reply was given since only emergency receivers in the lifeboats were undamaged and static was heavy").
About 20 minutes after the explosion Ordinary Seaman Sulebakk came to the bridge to inform them that Stoker Arne Christensen was missing. Mechanic Erik Johansson had seen him get into a lifeboat, then jump overboard. A radio message requesting a search by sea planes was sent out and repeated several times, as Nortind could not stop to look for him due to the fact that the U-boat was in the vicinity. When the pilot arrived later that morning the incident was reported to the pilot boat, which in turn reported it to shore, and about 20 minutes later a patrol boat came to in order to obtain the position and time of the incident. I get the impression the stoker was never found.
Nortind managed to get into New Orleans for her own power that same evening; the memorandum states she arrived the Quarantine Station there at 19:05 CWT. She was later repaired in Mobile, where she arrived July 9. According to the archive document, she did not leave again until Sept. 27 (see also the Voyage Record above). An inquiry had been held on board on July 2 while still in New Orleans. The majority of the details above were taken from statements made by the captain, the 1st mate, Able Seaman Andresen, Deck Boy Dibb, Radio Operator Axelsen, Mechanic Johansson, 1st Engineer Julius Nilsen, and 2nd Engineer Ingebrigt Moe. It appears some of the men mentioned here and in the above paragraphs were no longer on board at the time of Nortind's loss the following year. Gunner Woodland paid off in New Orleans. There was also an Able Seaman Frithjof Johannessen on board at the time, not included in the crew list for 1943, however, he's commemorated at the memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway (link at the end of this page).
In Oct.-1942 Nortind is listed as sailing in Convoy HX 213, bound for Avonmouth with a cargo of aviation fuel in station 42 of the convoy, which departed New York on Oct. 26. She arrived Avonmouth on Nov. 12, and a few days later she joined the westbound Convoy ON 147, which originated in Liverpool on Nov. 17 and arrived New York, Nortind's destination, on Dec. 4 (the archive document gives her arrival New York as Dec. 6). The ships sailing in ON 147 are named on this page; Abraham Lincoln (Commodore Vessel), Bralanta, Egda, Katy and Norfalk are among them.
She now made a voyage to Curacao; she's listed with that destination in Convoy NG 328, which departed New York on Dec. 10-1942 and arrived Guantanamo on the 18th - Albert L. Ellsworth, Anna Odland, Glarona and Karmt (returned) are also named in this convoy. That same day she joined the Guantanamo-Trinidad Convoy GAT 30, which arrived Trinidad on Dec. 25, but Nortind had arrived Curacao on the 22nd. Albert L. Ellsworth and Glarona are again included, as are Loke, Morgenen and Vanja. Nortind started on her return voyage on Jan. 3-1943, and is listed as bound from Curacao to Gitmo in Convoy TAG 33, continuing to New York on Jan. 5 with Convoy GN 33, which arrived there on Jan. 11. All these links are external.
As will be seen, her next voyage proved to be her last.
Captain Jakob O. Jensen.
Together with Kollbjørg (and other Norwegian ships), Nortind departed New York again on Jan. 14-1943 in Convoy HX 223, bound for Mersey with a cargo of 11 000 tons oil. Kollbjørg broke in two in the storm encountered by the convoy on Jan. 24, and Nortind (as well as the American Pan Maryland) stayed nearby in case they were needed to assist. In so doing Nortind was unable to catch up with the convoy later on.
On Jan. 26 she was torpedoed by U-358 (Manke), position 58 30N 34 00W. Among the casualties were 2 Dutch passengers. Please go to my page about M/T Kollbjørg for more information on this incident.
Position given by Mitchell & Sawyer is 58 40N 33 10W, east of Cape Farewell, Greenland (voyage Curaçao/New York/River Mersey).
Stavern Memorial commemorations - 35 Norwegians are commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway, including Stoker Arne Christensen who had died previously, when Nortind was torpedoed in June-1942. Able Seaman Frithjof Johannessen is also included here. He was on board when Nortind was torpedoed the first time, but is not included in the casualty list for 1943; perhaps he had joined another ship and perished later? "Våre falne", a series of 4 books naming Norwegians who died during the war also says he died when Nortind was lost in 1943- his brother Gustav had lost his life when Lise was sunk the year before. I believe the mechanic listed as Sigvald S. Brekke at the memorial is identical to Sigvald Sivertsen in my table above.
Back to Nortind on the "Ships starting with N" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: E-mail from Barbara Mumford with info Mitchell & Sawyer's "Empire Ships", "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, summary of survivors' statements, received from Tony Cooper, England, a memorandum dated July 3-1942, signed USNR Ensign E. D. Henderson, and misc. (ref. My sources).