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D/S Breiviken
Updated March 5-2013

To Breiviken on the "Ships starting with B" page.

Survivors and Casualties

Manager: Haakon J. Wallem, Bergen
2669 gt, 1599 net, 4600 tdwt.
Call Sign: LCPB.

Built by W. Dobson & Co., Walker-on-Tyne in 1911.
Previous name: Kronstad until 1931.
According to this external page, she was delivered in May-1911 as Kronstad to Grefstad & Herlofsons D/S A/S (Grefstad & Herlofson), Arendal. Owned from Oct.-1916 by Grefstads Rederi A/S (Bendix J. Grefstad), Arendal, no name change. From May-1922, Grefstads Rederi A/S (P. Dedekam), Arendal, same name. Wallem & Co. A/S, Bergen took over in Dec.-1931, renamed Breiviken.

Captain: Alf Vasdal

Her voyages are listed on these original images received from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2


From Page 1, we learn that Breiviken was on a voyage from Hong Kong to Calcutta when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She arrived her destination on May 3, having stopped at Singapore on the way. It'll also be noticed that she had quite a long stay in Hong Kong that summer; other long stays in port are also shown. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document, while the rest of her voyages can be found on Page 2. As can be seen, she spent a long time in Lourenço Marques in 1942. She had arrived there from Mombasa on June 24 and departure is given as Aug. 14, when she returned to Mombasa. She had another long stay in Lourenço Marques later that year, having arrived (again from Mombasa) on Sept. 10; she did not leave again until Dec. 14, proceeding to Durban, where she arrived 2 days later (remaining for almost a month). She also had some long stays in port in the course of 1943.

 Final Fate - 1943: 

Breviken was torpedoed and sunk by U-178 (Dommes) off Portugese East Africa on July 4-1943, 21 50S 37 50E, when on a voyage from Lourenço Marques and Durban to Mombasa with a cargo of 3812 tons coal, having departed Durban alone* on July 1 - see Page 2. The torpedo hit on the starboard side between No. 1 and 2 holds, causing her to list to starboard and sink in a couple of minutes, so there was no time to launch the lifeboats. An attempt had been made to lower the port boat and some men were in it, but due to the heavy list, it capsized before it reached the water. Able seaman Kose tried to cut the ropes, but went down with the boat. When he came to the surface, he was able to climb onto the keel.

Most of the crew went over the rail and down the port side of the ship; some were able to get onto debris and 2 rafts that floated up (a 3rd raft was destroyed). 20 men were taken aboard the U-boat, where the captain was questioned by an officer who spoke very good Norwegian. They were also filmed and photographed, but when the smoke from another ship was sighted, they were placed on the rafts while the U-boat took off to pursue it (U-178's next victim was the Greek Michael Livanos, sunk that same day).

The port boat and another capsized lifeboat were righted and bailed and the 33 survivors distributed themselves in them. They reached the coast of Portugese East Africa on July 7, where they were taken care of by the lighthouse keeper and his wife. The 2nd mate, who had been injured, was sent by plane from Inhambane to Lourenço Marques, where he was treated for his injuries at a hospital, before being sent with the others to Durban and admitted to a hospital there.

Out of a crew of 34 and 2 gunners, 3 crew had drowned, namely the British Radio Operator Benjamin C. Regan, the 3rd engineer (Norwegian) and the South African engineroom boy. The 3rd engineer had last been seen lowering himself down into the port boat (the one that capsized). From the deck of the U-boat, the captain had seen a body in the water which he believed to be that of the engineer. He had also seen the radio operator coming out of the radio station and going down the side of the ship into the water.

For info, U-178 had also been responsible for the loss of Hai Hing the year before - follow the link for details.

* J. Rohwer says Breiviken was a straggler from Convoy DN 50. A visitor to my website, who has his information from 3 survivor reports, also says she was a straggler from a convoy, having originally had station 42 in that convoy. He gives the name of the landing spot as Burra Falsa. No convoy is mentioned in the statements given at the subsequent maritime hearings, which were held in Durban on Aug. 4-1943 with Captain Vasdal, the 1st mate, the 3rd mate, the 1st engineer, Able Seaman Reinemo, Ordinary Seaman Andersen (helmsman), and Able Seaman Kose (lookout) appearing. However, according to Arnold Hague, Breiviken had left Durban in this convoy on July 1, but the convoy was dispersed on July 4, so that she was sailing alone when sunk that day (Page 2 gives the time as 14:37). Convoy DN 50 is available via the first external link provided at the end of this page; as will be seen, the Norwegian Britannia and Tonjer are also listed.

Crew List:

Alf Vasdal
1st Mate
Atle B. Berg
2nd Mate
Christoffer Heidenreich
3rd Mate
Martin Karlsen
Tore Solberg
Able Seaman
Lars Juliussen
Able Seaman
Martin Karsten
Able Seaman
Robert F. Kose
(Tallin, Estonia)
Able Seaman
Kostka Boleslaw
Ordinary Seaman
Duncan McKinven
Ordinary Seaman
Povl Josef Andersen
Ordinary Seaman
Magne Bendiksen
Ordinary Seaman
Edward Christianson
(South African)
1st Engineer
Matheus Iversen
2nd Engineer
Olaf Grønlien
Harald Pettersen
Edward Nowroth
Gunnar Christiansen
Zeghbab Brahim
P. C. Sullivan
Martin José Quesada
Jonas Virlickas
Sture Lyren
? Amundsen
Engine Boy
Maurice Frare
Engine Boy
A. G. Hall
(South African)
Nils S. Wermundsen
Fredrik Hansen
Galley Boy
Rinald Bowlin
(South African)
Mess Boy
Avon Williams
(South African)
Saloon Boy
Walter Hansen
John Gibson
C. A. Fitch

Radio Operator
Benjamin Cecil

3rd Engineer
Bernhard Karlsen

Engine Boy
Norman Leslie Wyk
(South African)

* Billy McGee, England has told me that the 25 year old British radio operator is commemorated at Tower Hill, Panel 18; further details on him can be found on this page (external link). The date is given as July 7.

Related external links:
Convoy DN 50

Stavern Memorial commemoration - The 3rd engineer is commemorated.

Operations Informatioon for U-178 - This website now appears to have been taken down. Will leave the link up for now, in case an archive will be available later (see this page).

U-178 | Wilhelm Dommes

Back to Breiviken on the "Ships starting with B" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Volume I (Norwegian Maritime Museum), partial Voyage Record received from D. Kindell, based on Arnold Hague's database, and misc. others for cross checking info. - ref My sources.


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