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Manager: Olav Ditlev-Simonsen jr.,Oslo
Built in Gothenburg in 1937.
Captain: William Terjesen all through the war.
Related item on this website:
(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 the record is incomplete
When Norway was invaded on Apr. 9-1940, Vito was loading a cargo of lumber in Chemainus (west coast of Canada), with departure for Cape Town on Apr. 25, arrival June 4. The lumber was discharged there as well as in Durban and Lourenco Marques. She then headed for Calcutta in ballast, picked up general cargo there and in Colombo for Fremantle, where she arrived Aug. 16. This cargo was unloaded at various places in Australia before she loaded grain in Sydney, arrived Shanghai on Sept. 17. After having been docked for a couple of days, she continued to Nauru Island in ballast to pick up phosphates for Geraldton, western Australia. This was again discharged at various ports, including Bunbury, where she subsequently picked up grain for Bombay. From there, she went to Singapore in ballast, with arrival Dec. 15, possibly for routing instructions, and she was kept there for 20 hours because she had no map on board of New Zealand, where her next cargo of phosphates from Nauru Island was to be discharged. It looks like this delay may have saved her from suffering the same fate as Vinni (follow the link for details). On arrival early in the morning of Dec. 28, installations at Nauru were still in flames from attacks by Komet the day before (ref. external links at the end of this page), and over the radio Captain Terjesen was directed to go to Rabaul. The authorities on the island assumed this order would have been heard by the Germans and signalled for her to ignore the order and head for Suva (Fiji Islands) instead, where she arrived safely on Jan. 1-1941. Compare the voyage information here with Page 1 of the archive documents.
Between Jan 7 and Jan. 10-1941, she loaded phosphates at Ocean Island for Auckland, New Zealand, then returned to Ocean Island again, but was sent from there to Nauru Island in ballast, with arrival Febr. 11, only to be redirected to Suva again the following day because another raider was reported in the area. Upon arrival Suva, she was routed on to Makatea Island and 4 days later she departed the latter with phosphates for Lyttleton, New Zealand. Having unloded there, she was docked at Dunedin from March 27 until March 30. Another such voyage was made (Makatea Island-Lyttleton-Dunedin - compare w/Page 1 and Page 2), whereupon she went to Ocean Island and Nauru to pick up a cargo for Auckland, then back to Ocean Island and Nauru. This time, the cargo was discharged in Port Lincoln (southern Australia) and Wallaroo, after which she made a short voyage from Whyalla to Newcastle (N.S.W.) with ore, then back to Ocean Island. This time, she also evacuated European women and children from the island (July-1941), together with the Norwegian M/S Skagerak and a British ship (for fear of a Japanese attack on the islands). They were landed in Brisbane, as was her phosphate cargo which had been picked up at the same time (at Ocean Island and Nauru). On her return trip to Ocean Island she carried some supplies for the workers who had remained there.
Her next phosphate cargo from Ocean Island was discharged in New Zealand, then she picked up a cargo at Makatea Island and unloaded in Auckland, before going into dry dock again but only for a day or so (Sept.-1941). She now made 3 more voyages between Ocean Island / Makatea Island and ports in New Zealand. On Christmas Eve 1941, Vito went from Dunedin to Newcastle (N.S.W.) in ballast, picked up a cargo of coal for Port Adelaide, whereupon she carried a cargo of ore from Whyalla back to Newcastle. (This was her 20th cargo since war broke out in Norway). By then it was 1942 - see also Page 2.On Jan. 17-1942, Vito arrived Sydney where she loaded some general cargo; more cargo was loaded in Melbourne, 8212 tons altogether, and this was taken to Port Said and Alexandria. Departure Alexandria took place on March 25, this time for Kosseir to pick up phosphates for Fremantle. This cargo was discharged in various ports before she again headed to Whyalla for ore which was unloaded in Port Kembla, N.S.W. She was subsequently docked again in Newcastle from May 23 until the 25th, picked up another cargo for Port Adelaide, from there to Whyalla for more ore and on to Port Kembla. After having picked up a 7480 tons cargo, 3000 tons of which was ore, the rest wool (some of this cargo had been loaded in Sydney; according to Page 3, she had been there for over a month), she headed to San Francisco, where she arrived on Aug. 30. Minor engine repairs were done there and on Sept. 23, she left with 7480 tons general cargo, incl. 20-30 tanks on deck. This was discharged in Melbourne, whereupon she made a trip from Whyalla to Newcastle (N.S.W.) with ore, and from Newcastle to Fremantle with general - her 30th cargo since Apr. 9-1940. Departed Fremantle on Dec. 6-1942 with 8612 tons sacked flour for Colombo, from the latter to Calcutta in ballast, with arrival at the end of that month.
In Calcutta and Colombo, she picked up a general cargo for Australia. This was discharged in various ports and in between she also picked up some general cargoes for other Australian cities, with the last one discharged in Sydney on March 13-1943 (? compare with Page 3). A voyage with coal, another with ore, then she loaded ore and wool for San Francisco again, with arrival there on May 14. By June 1, she had finished unloading and had also been in dock from May 26 until the 28th. After having taken on board a general cargo, she headed for San Pedro where 6 aircraft came on board, and she returned to Sydney. Unloading was completed by July 18 but she had to go in for some engine repairs again and didn't leave until Oct. 1; this time with about 8000 tons of flour for Calcutta, via Geraldton and Colombo (see Page 4). Having returned to Fremantle in ballast, she picked up 8546 tons general cargo for the Middle East, unloaded in Suez and Alexandria, departing on Dec. 30-1943 for Kosseir, where a cargo of phosphates was loaded.
This was intended for Australia, but discharged in Auckland where Vito was again docked from Febr. 28 until March 1-1944. Her 40th cargo was loaded there and taken to Tahiti, then she carried phosphates from Makatea to Auckland, flour from Melbourne to the Middle East, via Fremantle, Aden, Suez, on to Port Augusta, Sicily, then to Naples and finally to Civittia Vecchia (which is what the captain calls it), where she unloaded from July 1-1944 until the 14th. She subsequently took 628 soldiers to Naples, then continued via Port Augusta to Bone (convoy info for some of these voyages can be found in the table above), where phosphates were picked up for Australia, departing Bone on Aug. 1 in convoy (A. Hague has her in Convoy UGS 48 at this time - ref. link in Voyage Record). On Aug. 4, about 60 n. miles northwest of Benghazi, the convoy was attacked by bombers and torpedo aircraft (stationed in Greece). The attack lasted for about an hour, with Vito participating vigorously in the defence with her Oerlikons and other guns. (At that time, Vito's armament consisted of a 4" gun, a Bofors and 6 Oerlikons). Gunners on Vito at the time were Bendik Kallevik, Kristian Osnes, Hans Werkland, Johannes Olafsen (previously messboy on Bra-Kar), Eugen Brandt, Ivar Magnussen, Olav Sollund and Sigvart Hansen, under Haldorf E. Sørensen. An enemy plane was hit and crashed into the sea on fire, but it was not established which ship was responsible for the hit. Vito arrived Geelong (near Melbourne) on Sept. 10, where her cargo was discharged, before she returned to the Middle East with flour on Nov. 5, having been delayed by another engine repair (Page 4).
The flour was unloaded in Suez and Alexandria, whereupon she headed to Kosseir to pick up her 45th cargo which consisted of phosphates, unloaded in Newcastle (N.S.W.) until Febr. 18-1945. She then took a cargo of coal to Melbourne, where she was docked from March 6 until the 10th. Now followed 5 voyages on the coast of Australia with wheat. On May 9-1945, she arrived Melbourne from Fremantle and on July 31, she arrived Bunbury. Some of these voyages are also detailed on Page 5, which shows voyages up to and including most of Apr.-1946. It'll be noticed that she occasionally had long stays in port.
According to this external page, she was owned from Jan.-1964 by Skips A/S Tilthorn (J. Lind), Narvik, renamed Stella Nova. From Apr.-1966 as Althea for Pasalaric Investment Corp., Panama. Owned from 1967 by Minerva S.p.a., Palermo, Italy, no name change. From 1968, as Maja for Nav. Grancebaco S.A., Panama. From March-1974, owned by Reina Sofia Cia. de Nav. S.A., Panama, renamed Isolanda. From Jan.-1977, Orgophin S.A., Panama, renamed Coralba. Sold on Sept. 19-1978 to Brodospas, Split for breaking up.
Related external links:
The Australian War Memorial has a picture of Nauru Island, with the caption Damage to oil tanks by Komet's gunfire on Dec. 27-1940, when she shelled installations on the island. The site has several more pictures; they can be found through their collection search page.
Back to M/S Vito on the "Ships starting with V" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, the captain's report from "19 Oslo-skips historie under verdenskrigen, fra April 1940 til krigens slutt i 1945" (The story of 19 Oslo ships during WW II), Harald Nicolaisen - 1945, and "Tilbakeblikk", published in 1995 by the Norwegian Gunners' Veterans Association, kindly sent to me by an ex gunner in the Norwegian Merchant Fleet - (ref. My sources).