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Manager: Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg
Launched by Deutsche Werft A.G., Hamburg (Yard No. 47) on Aug. 30-1923, completed Nov. 2.
Captain: Rolf Endresen
Operated for Ministry of War Transport.
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.
As will be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Tortugas got out of Norway not long before the German invasion (Apr. 9-1940). She had left Bergen, Norway on March 23 and arrived New York Apr. 7, proceeding to Newport News on Apr. 8, arriving the next day, remaining there for several weeks. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document (as can be seen, she spent 3 weeks in New York that spring, and also had quite a long stay in Bombay that fall).
Along with Titanian, she's listed in Convoy SL 91 from Freetown on Oct. 27-1941 (Ingerfire joined later from Gibraltar - see also Acanthus); ref. links provided within the Voyage Record. Tortugas arrived Liverpool Nov. 20, and it looks like she subsequently remained there for over a month (Page 1). It'll also be noticed, when going to Page 2, that she later had a long stay at Tyne (or North Shields), where she had arrived on Jan. 1-1942; departure is given as March 1.
A week later, we find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 74, originating in Liverpool on March 9, arriving Halifax on the 25th. This convoy will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it (and escorts) are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. The Norwegian Arosa, Beth, Borgfred, Elg, Sirehei, Thorsholm, Titanian and Tungsha are included. Tortugas had joined from Loch Ewe, and from Halifax, she proceeded to New York, where she arrived Apr. 1, remaining there until Apr. 28 (her original destination appears to have been Baltimore - again, see Page 2).
More information on the other Norwegian ships mentioned here can be found via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.
When east of Barbados in position 12 39N 54 59W, Tortugas was torpedoed and sunk by U-67 (Müller-Stöckheim) on Nov. 18-1942. At the time, she was on a voyage alone from Calcutta and Table Bay (where her engine had been inspected and minor repairs undertaken) to Trinidad and Clyde with 2200 tons manganese ore, 1000 tons of jute and 14000(?) casks of tea. She had left Table Bay on Oct. 25 (Page 2). The torpedo struck between No. 4 and 5 hatch on the port side, and she sank with the stern first in about 8 minutes.
All 38 survived and were in 4 lifeboats when the U-boat approached about 4 minutes later. Captain Endresen and 1st Engineer Trygve Jensen were taken prisoners. The captain had his wife on board, and a report based on the survivors' statements says that a request by the captain's wife to be taken with him was denied by the commander of the U-boat. The 2 officers spent 34 days on the boat before they were landed at Lorient, then sent to a prison camp (Marlag und Milag Nord). They were released in Nov.-1943 and sent to Norway, along with 25 other Norwegian seamen.
The motorboat took the other 3 boats in tow, heading west. At dawn on Nov. 19 the wind increased and in order to save on petrol they stopped towing and set sail. The 3rd mate's boat and the boatswain's boat soon sailed ahead of the other 2 lifeboats and disappeared out of sight. When the wind decreased that evening the motorboat took the 2nd mate's boat in tow, but during the night the motor stopped and they again set sail until the following morning when the towing resumed. However, they ran out of petrol that afternoon so sail was set again and the 2 boats subsequently lost sight of each other. In the morning of Nov. 22 the 1st mate's motorboat met up with the 2 lifeboats that had sailed ahead earlier on, but lost touch again.
The 10 in the 1st mate's boat saw land on Nov. 26, and landed at Guayaguare Bay, Trinidad that same afternoon. They were later sent to Port of Spain. The 18 survivors in the 3rd mate's and the boatswain's boats were picked up by the American steamer Herman F. Whiton on Nov. 26 and landed at Georgetown on Nov. 28, while the remaining 8 in the 2nd mate's boat landed at Port of Spain on Nov. 29, having been picked up by a Yugoslavian ship about 50 miles off Port of Spain.
An inquiry was held in New York on Dec. 22-1942 with the 1st mate, the 2nd engineer, Ordinary Seaman Karlsen, and Able Seaman Kristensen appearing.
The position given above is taken from the 1st mate's report presented at the inquiry. J. Rohwer gives 13 24N 55 00W, R.W. Jordan says 13 24N 54 59W. The position 14N 54W has also been noted.
Crew List - No casualties:
Back to Tortugas on the "Ships starting with T" page.
Wilh. Wilhelmsen later had two more ships by this name, one of them being the former General Fleischer.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Wilh. Wilhelmsen fleet list, "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, and misc. for cross checking - (ref. My sources).