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Owner: A/S Ivarans Rederi
Built by Burmeister & Wain's Maskin & Skibsbyggeri A/S, Copenhagen in 1928. Previous names: Sud Africano until 1932, Paraguayo until 1939.
Captain: Mons Augestad
See also Arnold Hague's Voyage Record
Again, see also Arnold Hague's Voyage Record
Santos was on her way from Buenos Aires to Santos when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940 - see Page 1. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2, and it'll be noticed that she spent quite a long time in Baltimore, where she had arrived on Aug. 11; departure is given as Sept. 17, when she proceeded to New York, later to Halifax in order to join Convoy HX 153 on Oct. 5, along with the Norwegian Katy, Temeraire, Sveve, Ferncastle, Bonneville (returned), Lista, Haakon Hauan, Toronto (returned) and Andrea Brøvig. Please follow the link for more info on this convoy (according to A. Hague, she had 5 passengers on board). En route she lost one of her lifeboats during bad weather on Oct. 16, 15 miles northeast of Butt of Lewis, and on Oct. 20, she was involved in a collision with Southern Empress in River Mersey. The following month, Santos is listed in station 52 of Convoy OS 12, which left Liverpool on Nov. 18 and arrived Freetown Dec. 11 - ref. external link provided in the table above; other Norwegian ships also took part. Santos was bound for Freetown and misc. ports with general cargo.
While in Takoradi on March 16-1942 she collided with a British warship, but no name is given. She left Takoradi the following day for Freetown in order to join Convoy SL 104, which left Freetown on March 23 and arrived Liverpool on Apr. 12. Santos' final destination is given as Manchester, where she arrived on Apr. 15 - see also Page 3. In May, she joined Convoy OS 28, bound for Table Bay and Aden with general and stores in station 82 of the convoy, which departed Liverpool on May 12 and arrived Freetown on the 30th; Santos arrived Table Bay on June 13, Aden on July 11. Again, follow the links provided in the table above for more details on these convoys, other Norwegian ships are also named.
She now made voyages to Suez, Fanara, Safaga, Port Sudan, back to Aden, then on to Port Elizabeth, before heading to the U.S. By then it was Oct.-1942. Towards the end of that month, on Oct. 28-1942, she left Baltimore for New York, then joined Convoy HX 215, which departed New York City on Nov. 11 and arrived Liverpool on the 25th. Santos was bound for Liverpool with a general cargo, and was again in the company of several other Norwegian ships, as will be seen when following the link. She subsequently joined Convoy ON 153 on Dec. 11 (Bello and others were sunk, follow the links for details). Santos was bound for New York, but lost touch with the convoy (see Commodore's notes for ON 153), and arrived Halifax on Dec. 27, joining Convoy ON 152 from there the next day (according to the Commodore's notes) in order to complete her voyage to New York. Her arrival there is given as Jan. 1-1943. Bonneville served as Commodore Ship for ON 152, which had started out in Liverpool on Dec. 9.
It looks like she spent quite a long time in New York, because judging from her movement card above (as well as Page 3), she did not leave again until Apr. 6-1943, at which time she was one of many Norwegian ships in Convoy HX 233, station 85, general cargo and explosives. She stopped at Belfast Lough on the 21st, before continuing to Swansea, with arrival Apr. 22, departing for Cardiff that same day, arriving Apr. 23. On May 3, while still in Cardiff, she was damaged after striking the dock, but as can be seen in the table above she arrived Mumbles and Swansea on May 4, so it appears the damages could not have been serious, unless she went to Swansea for repairs? If so, these were completed fairly quickly, because she left Swansea again for Mumbles and Milford Haven on May 8, then departed the latter on May 9, joining the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 183*, which sailed from Liverpool on May 10 and arrived New York on the 25th (Commodore in Laurits Swenson); Santos arrived Portland, Maine that day.
She returned to the U.K. with Convoy HX 245, which had originated in New York on June 23, but Santos joined from Halifax on the 26th (as did Tungsha and Idefjord), taking station 108 of the convoy, having previously arrived Halifax from Boston on the 24th (Page 4). She again had a general cargo for Liverpool, and again several other Norwegian ships took part. She later joined the westbound Convoy ON 193*, which left Liverpool on July 16 and arrived New York on the 31st. This was her last westbound Trans-Atlantic voyage; her voyage back to the U.K. the following month proved to be her last.
Santos was on a voyage from New York to Mersey with general cargo and explosives, sailing in station 34 of Convoy HX 252 when she was run into in thick fog by the American Liberty Ship S/S Theodore Dwight Weld on Aug. 19(?)-1943. According to the captain's report the colliding vessel had station 43. She's listed in station 55 on the original Advance Sailing Telegram for this convoy, but it's possible she had moved in the course of the voyage (in fact, the first report that I've linked to below does put her in station 43 - scroll down to the heading "Analysis).
When the silhouette of this ship suddenly appeared out of the fog, full speed ahead to both engines and hard port wheel were ordered in an effort to avoid a collision in the forward section where the explosives were stored. The ship struck her with great force between hatch 4 and 5 on the starboard side, leaving a big hole into the shelter deck of Santos. A fire erupted in the shelter deck, but this was soon extinguished. She managed to get clear of the convoy, and as she was taking in a lot of water the pumps were started, while they set a northerly course, realizing they had to try to reach land as soon as possible. However, about an hour later she was run into again, resulting in another big hole in her side, this time in the port side near No. 5 hatch. The captain gives the time for this second collision as 22:20 (01:45 GMT), believing it was the same ship (see also Page 4 of the archive documents). She was now taking in so much water that the men were ordered to the lifeboats, 2 were missing (see also this Guestbook message). Santos sank about 40 minutes later in 43 51N 53 12W (Roger W. Jordan gives the position as 44 12N 52 58W).
The lifeboats were located by aircraft the next day and two corvettes were sent to assist them. They were picked up on Aug. 20 by HMS Narcissus.
More details surrounding her loss can be found in a report for Convoy HX 252 by the Flag Officer, Newfoundland - in particular, see "Interrogation of survivors", and also the text under the heading "Analysis" on that page. Also, the Commodore's collision reports are available, as is the Commodore's narrative, where Santos is mentioned several times.
According to "Nortraships flåte" the American ship had been torpedoed and was on fire when it ran into Santos, but this appears to be incorrect (again follow the links related to Convoy HX 252 above). However, this ship was torpedoed and sunk about a month later, on Sept. 20 by U-238 while in Convoy ON 202. This Norwegian source also says that Santos was run into by the same ship twice, but R. W. Jordan states she collided with 2 ships on the 18th, the 2nd one being the Panamanian J. H. Senior. Arnold Hague says J. H. Senior collided with the American J. Pinckney Henderson on Aug. 19 - this is also repeated in the various reports for HX 252 that I've linked to above. "Nortraships flåte" also gives the date as Aug. 19 for Santos' collision, while the date is given as Aug. 20 in her movement card. Page 4 of the archive documents gives the date as Aug. 18, time as 21:25 for the first collision, 22:20 for the second, adding she sank at 23:00 that day - then it says "19/8/43 02.25 GMT".
There's even more confusion here, in that an account by Captain Augestad, who had been on board since she had the name Sud Africano (though as captain only for the last 2 years), says Santos was hit by a torpedo about 200 miles south of Cape Race. He says there were no casualties, and they were picked up from their 2 lifeboats 36 hours later and taken to St. John's, N.F. It looks like even the escorts believed that a U-boat was lurking and that the colliding ships had been torpedoed, but this convoy was not attacked - again, please read the reports related to HX 252 above.
In the Norwegian magazine "Krigsseileren", No. 1/1985 I found the names of 16 Norwegians who are buried at Pine Ridge Cemetery, Saranac, NY - see Norwegian War Graves on my Memorials page. One of them is Karl Forsberg who died in May-1944, ship's name is given as Santos. I at first thought this might mean that the 2 missing men had been found afterall, since even the captain says in the above mentioned account that there were no casualties. However, this theory fell apart when Billy McGee, England told me that 2 casualties from Santos are commemorated at Tower Hill, Panel 92, both listed as having died on Aug. 18-1943*, namely the 17 year old Mess Room Boy Dennis Perry from Ely, Cardiff and the 18 year old Engineer's Boy Robert Walker (ref. links to their commemorations at the end of this page). This has also since been confiirmed by the official crew list and another report written by the captain, dated St. John's Aug. 25-1943, which says that the 2 casualties had been on the boat deck with the rest of the crew after the first collision, but were believed to have gone down to the cabin on the port side of the shelter deck to fetch some of their belongings. When Santos was run into the second time, this cabin was completely crushed and the ship sank less than half an hour later. The 2 were not missed until they had all gotten in the lifeboats, and a search among the debris and rafts for about half an hour proved in vain. (I have since found more details on Karl Forsberg - he had served on Santos until he became ill and had to pay off, then eventually died, as mentioned).
There's quite a story connected to Captain Augestad and Santos' sinking. He sent a telegram to President Roosevelt, saying "Norwegian crew just rescued from sunk Norwegian motorship ready to continue fighting. Please help us with a new ship". The telegram did reach the President, and it has been said that he was very impressed, stating, "this is the kind of people who will win the war". He subsequently told Admiral Land to see to it that Nortraship was given another ship, with the stipulation it would be commanded by Augestad. Roosevelt understood how important it was for the war effort that Norway had the ships she needed to replace those she had lost, and it resulted in the acquisition of 4 C-1 ships, 10 Liberty ships and 8 T-2 tankers in the subsequent 2 years. The ship "given" to Captain Augestad was, in fact, Alf Lindeberg, taken over by Nortraship on Oct. 23-1943 in Beaumont, Texas, but she was not the first vessel to be transferred to Norway that year; the others are named at "Gains 1943". This ship also had the first female, Norwegian radio operator on board, as well as all but a couple of men of Santos' former crew.
Captain Augestad's telegram to Roosevelt is also mentioned in shipowner E. D. Næss's memoirs. He started working for Nortaship a few months after it happened. Næss also claims Santos was torpedoed, giving the position as "400 n. miles east of Halifax".
Back to Santos on the "Ships starting with S" page.
Sweden also lost a motor vessel by this name, built 1925, 3840 gt - torpedoed and sunk by a U-63 on Febr. 24-1940, when on a voyage from Kirkwall to Gothenburg. Germany had a steamship by the name Santos, built 1923, 5943 gt - bombed and sunk by British aircraft on Aug. 10-1944, west of Heligoland.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Krigsseileren", Issue No. 1 for 1985, "The allied Convoy System", Arnold Hague, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II, and misc. as named within text above (ref. My sources).