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Manager: Haakon J. Wallem, Bergen
Built at Port Glasgow in 1925.
Captain: Pareli Berg
According to Page 1 above, Norviken was on her way from Hong Kong to Saigon when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She arrived Saigon on Apr. 19, having left Hong Kong on the 6th. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2.
Norviken departed Madras in ballast on Apr. 6-1942 bound for Bombay. Bombed on Apr. 9 by Japanese aircraft (from Nagumo's aircraft carrier). 1 bomb hit on the port side amidships, another 2 hit in the after deck on the starboard side. 38 men managed to get in the starboard lifeboat and rowed towards shore, under continuous machine gun fire from the aircraft. They landed in about 45 minutes and sought refuge in a nearby woods, where they were assisted by natives who saw to it that those who needed medical care the most were taken to a hospital, while the others were clothed and fed at a school.
Later that day 2 of the Chinese crew reached land on a raft, a 3rd had died from burns he had received when the steam pipe in the engine room burst (this was the repairman, who was buried on the beach the next morning). That evening, 2 more Chinese crew reached land floating on their lifebelts, one of whom, the saloon boy, reported that he and the captain had jumped overboard together and he had been swimming alongside him for a while. The captain did not have a life jacket on, and was bleeding from a wound in his head.
The 1st mate had the chief of police place a watch on the beach. The next day Norviken was seen still afloat and drifting north with the current, until she ran aground near Timkovie. Orders were received from the government in Batticaola that they should come there, and while the 2nd mate and the trimmer tended to the repairman's funeral, the rest of the Norwegian officers and the surviving crew were transported there by bus. The Chinese crew, including the injured were subsequently sent by train to Colombo, whereupon the 1st mate returned to the landing place to find that the 2nd mate, meanwhile, had been back on board Norviken to drop the port anchor. He had found the hull badly damaged and water had risen to the 'tween deck in every hold.
After having instructed the chief of police to continue keeping a strong watch on the beach, and to have a canoo ready for them the next morning so that they could reboard their ship, the 2 Norwegian officers went back to Batticaola. However, that same night the watchmen discovered lights coming from the ship; native looters were on board. An hour later a fire broke out and several explosions were heard (possibly from the ammunition for Norviken's machine guns). She burnt out completely and eventually broke in two.
An inquiry was held in Colombo on May 26-1942 with the 1st mate and all the Chinese survivors appearing. The other Norwegian officers had been sent to Bombay by then.
An official British report says Norviken was lost because the crew left the ship without it being necessary, and that the bombs did not hit the ship, but landed in the sea close by.
Related external link:
Back to Norviken on the "Ships starting with N" 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, and misc. (ref. My sources).