|Site Map | Search Warsailors.com |Merchant Fleet Main Page | Warsailors.com Home|
Owner: Skibs-A/S Nanset
Built by Götaverken A/B, Gothenburg in 1929.
Captain: Arnold Morits Jensen. According to this external page, he joined Storaas in Nov.-1929, starting as 1st mate.
Please compare the above voyages with Arnold Hague's Voyage Record below.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
From Page 1 of the archive documents, we learn that Storaas was on her way from Stanlow to Trinidad when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940.
With a cargo of fuel oil, she's listed in the Bermuda portion of the Halifax-U.K. Convoy HX 56 in July that year, station 57. She arrived Greenock on July 21, and judging from the information found on the archive document, she later went into drydock and did not leave the U.K. again until Dec.-1940. She's listed, with destination Cape Town and Abadan, in Convoy OB 254, originating in Liverpool on Dec. 4. However, she returned to Clyde, subsequently joining Convoy OB 257 from there. This convoy originated in Liverpool on Dec. 10 and dispersed Dec. 13, Storaas arriving Curacao on Jan. 3/4-1941 - Cape Town and Abadan are not mentioned for this period on the archive document. Ref. external links provided within the Voyage Record for more on these OB convoys - A. Hauge has also included Dagrun, Titanian and Topdalsfjord in OB 257, while another section of the site also lists Suderholm, adding that Erviken, Hørda and Taranger were scheduled but did not sail. (It looks like Suderholm didn't sail either, or returned to port, she's listed in OB 258).
Storaas headed back to the U.K. on Jan. 21-1941 in Convoy BHX 104 from Bermuda, bound for Clyde with fuel oil, arriving Febr. 8. According to the book "Våre falne", she lost a crew member shortly thereafter. Carpenter Nils Ove Andreassen died of heart failure on Febr. 18-1941, and is buried in Leith, Scotland (please see the link to Stavern Memorial at the end of this page). In March that year, she was on her way to Trinidad, sailing in Convoy OB 291, when she was attacked by aircraft, 85 n. miles west of Achill Head (see also Skaraas). The gunners defended her, which avoided direct hits but two bombs detonated so close that the engine stopped from the impact. The escorting British corvette HMS Tulip stayed nearby for protection until her engine could be started again and she could continue. OB 291 had originated in Liverpool on Febr. 27 and was dispersed on March 3. Storaas arrived Trinidad on March 21, having started out from Clyde on Febr. 28. In addition to Skaraas already mentioned, Caledonia, Grena, Hardanger, Hilda Knudsen, Laurits Swenson and the Panamanian Norvik (Norwegian managers) are also listed, ref. link in the table above.
According to Page 1, she remained in Trinidad for quite some time, before leaving for Freetown on May 3, arriving May 21. With a crago of crude oil, she's listed in Convoy SL 77, which departed Freetown on June 8 and arrived Liverpool on July 3 - again, see the link provided in the Voyage Record - it'll be noticed, when going back to the archive document, that her departure Freetown is given as May 30; she arrived Belfast Lough July 1. This departure date fits better with Convoy SL 76, which left Freetown that day, but she's not listed there, and this convoy is said to have arrived Liverpool on June 21, so the arrival date is off. Had she started out in SL 76, then joined SL 77 while en route, or does the archive document give the wrong departure date?
We now find her, along with Audun (to Iceland), Grena and Tautra, in Convoy OB 348, originating in Liverpool on July 17-1941, arriving Halifax on the 31st; Storaas, however, was bound for New York, and arrived there on Aug. 4, having been detached from the convoy on July 30 (according to A. Hague) - she had started out from Milford Haven on July 16. From New York, she later proceeded to Halifax then on to Sydney, C.B., and with a cargo of fuel oil, she headed back to the U.K. again on Aug. 30 in the slow Convoy SC 42, which lost many ships, as will be seen when following the link. The Norwegian Askeladden, Måkefjell, Knoll, Lancing, Regin, Inger Elisabeth, Kul, Arosa, Vestland, Bestum and Stargard are also named in this convoy; the latter was sunk - follow the link for details. Storaas arrived Loch Ewe on Sept. 18 - her voyages in this period are shown on Page 2.
The following month, she joined the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 25, originating in Liverpool on Oct. 10-1941, dispersed Oct. 24, Storaas arriving Curacao on Nov. 4 (having sailed from Loch Ewe on Oct. 12). This convoy, which also included Fjordheim, Ingerfem and Ørnefjell, will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section in due course, along with more info; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. From Curacao, she proceeded to Table Bay and Abadan.
Her subsequent voyages are listed on Page 2; convoy information for some of these (as well as for voyages made in between those mentioned here) can be found in the Voyage Record. As will be seen, she had a long stay in Melbourne in the spring of 1942. In Aug.-1942, when en route from Abadan to Australia, she lost another crew member. Mate Aksel Monrad Bjønnes died on board of heart failure on Aug. 3 and was buried at sea - again, ref. link to the Stavern Memorial at the end of this page. She had another long stay in Melbourne later on. A. Hague says she had left Melbourne on Sept. 13 but ran aground and returned that same day - I have no further details on this, but it'll be noticed that she did not leave Melbourne again until Nov. 19, when she proceeded to Bahrein.
Storaas had departed Simonstown in ballast for Durban and Abadan on May 28-1943 in Convoy CD 20 (external link; the Norwegian Høegh Scout is also listed), escorted by 4 armed trawlers. That same evening, she was struck in the engine room by a torpedo from U-177 (Gysae), 34 57S 19 33E. A ship a little in front of her on the starboard side had just been hit (American Agwimonte) and as no orders from the Commodore were forthcoming, Captain Jensen, fearing a torpedo from the starboard side, had decided to order hard port wheel. Just as Storaas had turned about 30° a ripping sound was heard and immediately afterwards the wake of a torpedo was seen heading their way from starboard, resulting in a horrific explosion. The main engines stopped immediately, all the lights went out, and the after part started to sink very quickly, then seemed to stop.
Without orders the crew took to the aft lifeboats which were launched without problems. The starboard boat with the 2nd mate on board came alongside for the captain, the 1st and 3rd mates and the radio operator, as the port boat had already left the ship's side. (An attempt had been made by those remaining on board to launch the amidships, starboard motor boat, but the after tackle got caught and the boat flooded, though remained afloat).
The boats were ordered to stay nearby, the captain intending to reboard as soon as it was light. However, Storaas received another torpedo, and shortly afterwards an escorting trawler came up and ordered them all on board as quickly as possible (the trawler, named as HMSAS Vereeniging at Uboat.net, also picked up surviors from the rafts and a lifeboat from Agwimonte). The captain's request to stay near the ship until daylight was denied, as the escort had to remain with the convoy. They were landed in Port Elizabeth on May 30-1943, then travelled by train to Cape Town. 4 men were missing, all of whom, except the steward, were in the engine room when the explosion occurred.
Meanwhile, in the pitch black engine room, with oil and water gushing in from above, Mechanic Halaas was trapped, but eventually managed to free himself and get to the surface. He then swam around in the dark until he found an opening through which he could get out on deck, about an hour after the ship had been torpedoed. He went to his cabin and got some clothes and also found a flash light. Being unable to get the port dinghy out by himself, he stayed on board, near the dinghy in case the ship should capsize. He saw lights on the water quite a ways off and signalled for help with his flash light - someone signalled back; this was believed to have been survivors on a raft from the other torpedoed ship. Two hours passed, then another torpedo hit on the starboard side, abaft amidships, and about 10 minutes later an explosion occurred on the port side, causing Storaas to list heavily to port. He entered the dinghy, waited till the water reached it, then simply rowed away.
The ship remained afloat for as long as he could see it. He rowed all night in order to keep warm, but had no idea in which direction land was until daylight, when he started to row in that direction. Late in the afternoon of May 29 a trawler picked him up. He was landed in Cape Town, where he stayed at a nursing home for 2 weeks while being treated for various wounds.
The maritime inquiry was held in Cape Town on June 18-1943 with the captain, the 2nd mate, the 1st engineer, Mechanic Halaas, Able Seaman Olsen, and Able Seaman Brandt attending. The captain stated that the escorting trawler had the marking T-62, however, HMSAS Vereeniging had T-72. None of the witnesses had seen the steward prior to the attack.
Time given on Page 2 of the archive documents is 21:53.
The Dutch Salabangka was also sunk in this convoy (by U-178, June 1) - ref. external links below.
Related external links:
My query to the ubootwaffe.net forum regarding the attack on Storaas no longer seems to exist at this link. Roland Berr replied with an excerpt from U-177's KTB, confirming there were 3 attacks (Rowher mentions only one attack on Storaas).
Back to Storaas on the "Ships starting with S" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. (ref. My sources).