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Whale factory

Updated Dec. 28-2010

To Strombus on the "Ships starting with S" page.

Crew List

A picture is available on this external page.

Owner: A/S Sevilla (controlled by Chr. Salvesen & Co., Gr. Britain).
Manager: Onésimus Andersen, Tønsberg
6549 gt, 3917 net
Signal Letters: LCPN

Built by Armstrong Whitworth & Co., Newcastle in 1900 as Strombus for Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co., London. Sold in 1921 to Cia Ballenera del Peru, Peru, same name. Later sold to Hvalf. A/S Africa, Tønsberg, converted to whale factory 1926 (1928?). Sold to A/S Sevilla in 1936. (A more detailed history can be found on the external page that I've linked to above; it'll be noticed that some of the info differs from mine).

Captain: Hjalmar Nilsen

Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

Please compare the above with Arnold Hague's Record below.

  Voyage Record
From March-1940 to May-1940:  

(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).

Errors may exist, and as can be seen, this record is incomplete.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 March 31* South Georgia Freetown May 15 Independent Had arrived South Georgia March 10.
*Archive document gives departure Apr. 26.
May 17 Freetown SL 32 Detached independent, May 19.
Convoy available at SL 32
(external link)
May 19 Detached from SL 32 New Orleans Independent Archive doc gives arrival June 9.
Also, missing voyages
(see also Notes below).


Strombus is listed in Convoy SL 32, departing Freetown on May 17-1940, arriving Liverpool June 3. From the archive document, we learn that she did not go to the U.K. at that time, but arrived New Orleans on June 9; according to A. Hague she had been detached from the convoy on May 19 to continue independently. She had a cargo of whale oil, and sailed in station 32. Chr. Knudsen and Spero are also listed - ref. link provided in the table above. From New Orleans, she proceeded to Galveston on June 22, then on to Bermuda, where she arrived July 7. With destination Manchester, she's listed as scheduled for the Bermuda portion of Convoy HX 57 on July 10, but did not sail - follow the link for more convoy information, several Norwegian ships are named. Going back to the archive document, we see that she had left Bermuda on July 8 and arrived Liverpool on the 27th, later continuing to Stanlow and Manchester, arriving the latter on Aug. 2.

The last entry on the document shows her arriving Swansea on Aug. 14. According to the Memorial for Seamen in Stavern, Norway, she lost a crew member the following month - see the link below.

Related external link:
Stavern Memorial commemoration - Oiler Robert R. Nesset is listed as having died in a "war related accident" in Swansea on Sept. 1-1940.

 Final Fate - 1940: 

She was off Swansea correcting her compasses, about to depart for South Georgia, when a mine detonated aft on her starboard side on Oct. 26-1940, 51 33 48N 03 56 48W. She had a pilot on board at the time, and I get the impression her degaussing was turned on. The Germans had started to use a new type of mine in British waters around this time, the acoustic mine, which detonated on the sound impulse from the propellers of passing ships, but not sure if this was the type to blame in this case. The steam pipes started to leak in various places and water was reported in the engine room, so course was altered towards shore in order to beach the ship. The tug Victor came to her assistance about 10 minutes later and took her in tow towards a bank near Mumbles Head, but she went aground.

Most of her crew members were taken ashore by HMT Silja; 2nd Engineer Monsen was injured and taken to a hospital. The pilot and 15 crew remained on board and shortly after midnight on the 27th, 2 tugs unsuccessfully attempted to tow her further in. At this time she was listing heavily to starboard. Those who had remained on board were then taken off by Victor and landed in Swansea at dawn, except the captain and the 1st mate, who reboarded Strombus and remained on board through the day.

During a storm on Oct. 30 Strombus broke in two. The forepart drifted off, capsized and sank, while the afterpart was beached in 51 34 33N 03 58 21W.

All 48 (34?) had survived.

An inquiry was held in Leith on Febr. 12-1941 with the captain and the 1st mate attending.

She was refloated in 1942, broken up at Briton Ferry.

A visitor to my website has told me that “Men of the Mumbles Head” says that Mumbles Lifeboat went out after she had struck the mine, but was told casualties would remain on board until the tugs arrived. He adds that "Shipwreck Index of the British Isles" says she carried patent fuel (a form of compressed coal dust), and that the remains of the wreck were dispersed in 1977.

Crew List - No casualties:
According to "Våre falne" Mate Svein Aanonsen was also on board at the time, but is not named in the crew list. See also Svint (and this external page).
Simon Jonassen later survived the sinking of Rinda - follow the link for details. His other ships are listed on this external page.

Hjalmar Nilsen
1st Mate
Osvald Wilhelmsen
2nd Mate
Trygve Strandskog
3rd Mate/Radio Operator
Karl Leon Falck
Paulus Eriksen
Gustav Staff
Able Seaman
Nicolai Ele
Able Seaman*
Abraham Abrahamsen
Able Seaman
Alfred Johansen
Able Seaman
Nils Iversen Ågotnes
Ordinary Seaman
Jens Jonson
Ordinary Seaman
Alf Olai Klepp
Ordinary Seaman
Gudmund Strand
Ordinary Seaman
John Dahl
Ordinary Seaman
Trygve Jensen
Jr. Ordinary Seaman
Simon Jonassen
1st Engineer
Hans Nilsen
2nd Engineer
Alfred Monsen
3rd Engineer
Anker Gustavsen
4th Engineer
Harald Arnold Iversen
Finn Pedersen
Harald Kristiansen
Johan Haugan
Ole Anton Vegsund
Harry Lorang Karlsen
Oscar Gudmundsen
Andreas Gjersøe
Birger Andersen
Einar Nilsen
Hans Ingvald Hansen
Alf Dagfin Eriksen
Galley Boy
Henry Johansen
Mess Boy
Joseph Quinn
Mess Boy
Alfred Davis
+ 14 more?

* Abraham Abrahamsen had previously served on Salvestria - after the loss of Strombus he joined a foreign ship. He died on March 6-1943 at Newland's Hospital, Dumfries and is buried there. (Source: "Våre falne").

Back to Strombus 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, "The world's Merchant Fleets", R. W. Jordan, and misc. - (ref. My sources).


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