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M/S Tarifa
Updated Aug. 16-2012

To Tarifa on the "Ships starting with T" page.

Crew List

Source: Roger W. Jordan collection.

From Bjørn Milde's postcard collection.

The Australian War Memorial also has a picture of this ship, taken in Fremantle (external links).
See also this external page (click in the photo to enlarge) as well as (also external).

Manager: Wilh. Wilhelmsen, Tønsberg
7229 gt, 4426 net, 10 850 tdwt
Dimensions: 493.6' x 63.3' x 29.0'
Machinery: 2 x 8 cyl. 2 SCSA oil engines totalling 10 600 ihp by F. Schichau G.m.b.H., Elbing, driving twin screws.
Service Speed: 16.25 knots - 12 passengers
Signal Letters: LJGH

Launched by F. Schichau G.m.b.H., Danzig (Yard No. 1357) on Aug. 20-1936, completed Nov. 7.

Captain: Hans Bjønness

Related item on this website:
Guestbook message - From the son of one of the crew of HMS Avon, which rescued Tarifa's survivors.
Guestbook message re someone who served on HMS Avon when survivors were picked up from Tarifa (see account below).

Her voyages are listed on these original images from the Norwegian National Archives:
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4

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

  Voyage Record
From March-1940 to March-1944:  

(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 some voyages may be missing.

Departure From To Arrival Convoy Remarks
1940 March 26 Manila Sourabaya Independent Page 1 gives arrival Apr. 7
Apr. 11 Sourabaya Singapore Independent Page 1 gives arrival Apr. 13
May 9 Singapore Penang Independent
May 12 Penang Colombo May 17 Independent
May 30 Colombo Cochin June 1 Independent
June 1 Cochin Bombay June 4 Independent
June 13 Bombay Capetown June 27 Independent
July 1 Capetown Freetown July 11 Independent
July 13 Freetown Clyde July 24 Independent
Aug. 8 Clyde Methil Aug. 11 WN 6 Convoy available at WN convoys
(external link)
Aug. 12 Methil Hull Aug. 14 FS 250 Convoy available at FS convoys
(external link)
Aug. 29 Hull Methil Aug. 31 FN 266 Convoy available at FN convoys
(external link)
Sept. 2 Methil OA 208 Dispersed Sept. 6.
Convoy available at OA 208
(external link)
Sept. 6 Dispersed from OA 208 New York City Sept. 14 Independent
Sept. 21 New York City Hampton Roads Sept. 22 Independent
Sept. 22 Hampton Roads Cristobal Sept. 27 Independent
Sept. 29 Balboa Los Angeles Oct. 6 Independent
Oct. 8 Los Angeles Manila Oct. 29 Independent
Oct. 30 Manila Shanghai Nov. 2 Independent
Nov. 4 Shanghai Yokohama Independent
Nov. 18 Yokohama Dahikan Nov. 21 Independent Missing movements, Page 1
Dec. 10 Manila Hong Kong Dec. 11 Independent
Dec. 12 Hong Kong Shanghai Dec. 15 Independent
Dec. 17 Shanghai Balboa Jan. 13-1941 Independent
1941 Jan. 15 Cristobal New York City Jan. 21 Independent
Jan. 25 New York City Boston Jan. 26 Independent
Febr. 4 Boston Philadelphia Independent Page 1 gives arrival Febr. 6
Febr. 8 Philadelphia New York City Febr. 8 Independent
Febr. 21 New York City Hampton Roads Febr. 22 Independent
Febr. 25 Hampton Roads Cristobal March 2 Independent
March 3 Balboa Los Angeles March 10 Independent
March 12 Los Angeles Manila Apr. 1 Independent
Apr. 5 Manila Hong Kong Apr. 7 Independent
Apr. 9 Hong Kong Shanghai Apr. 12 Independent
Apr. 15 Shanghai Hong Kong Apr. 17 Independent
Apr. 19 Hong Kong Balikpapan Apr. 23 Independent
Apr. 24 Balikpapan Ashore May 1 Independent See also Page 2
May 5 Ashore Sydney, N.S.W. May 9 Independent
May 27 Sydney, N.S.W. Melbourne May 29 Independent
June 10 Melbourne Suez July 4 Independent Missing movements, Page 2
July 23 Suez Aden July 27 Independent
July 28 Aden Mombasa Aug. 3 Independent
Aug. 20 Mombasa Fremantle Sept. 2 Independent
Sept. 2 Fremantle Sydney, N.S.W. Sept. 9 Independent
Oct. 1 Sydney, N.S.W. Melbourne Oct. 3 Independent
Oct. 11 Melbourne Aden Oct. 31 Independent
Nov. 2 Aden Suez Independent Compare w/Page 2
Nov. 24 Suez Aden Nov. 28 Independent
Nov. 28 Aden Fremantle Dec. 12 Independent
Dec. 25 Fremantle Aden Jan. 9-1942 Independent
1942 Jan. 9 Aden Port Sudan Jan. 11 Independent
Jan. 11 Port Sudan Suez Jan. 13 Independent Arrived Port Said, next day
(Page 2)
Jan. 18 Port Said Alexandria Jan. 19 Independent
Febr. 1 Alexandria Port Said Febr. 2 Independent On to Suez same day
(Page 2).
Febr. 6 Suez Cochin Febr. 15 Independent
Febr. 28 Cochin Fremantle March 13 C 4X 240 Troops.
Convoy available at C 4X
(external link)
March 13 Fremantle Adelaide March 17 Independent
March 20 Adelaide Port Pirie March 22 Independent
March 24 Port Pirie Newcastle, N.S.W. Apr. 2 Independent Via Sydney, March 27
(Page 2).
Apr. 4 Newcastle, N.S.W. Sydney, N.S.W. Apr. 4 Independent
Apr. 24 Sydney, N.S.W. Aden May 17 Independent
May 21 Aden Suez May 23 Independent Later arr. Port Said May 25, back to Suez June 14
(Page 3).
June 15 Suez Safaga Independent Page 3 gives arrival June 16
June 22 Safaga Kosseir Independent
June 25 Kosseir Aden June 30 Independent
July 2 Aden Fremantle July 18 Independent
July 24 Fremantle Bunbury July 24 Independent
July 29 Bunbury Fremantle July 29 Independent
Aug. 14 Fremantle Capetown Sept. 2 Independent
Sept. 5 Capetown Saldanha Bay Independent Again, see also Page 3
Sept. 12 Saldanha Bay Capetown Sept. 12 Independent
Sept. 14 Capetown Freetown Sept. 25 Independent
Oct. 3 Freetown Belfast Oct. 22 SL 124 1 Passenger, 85 Mails.
Convoy available at SL 124
(external link)
Nov. 3 Belfast Liverpool Nov. 6 Independent
Dec. 18* Liverpool Freetown Dec. 31 WS 25 *Page 3 gives departure Dec. 15.
Convoy available at WS 25
See also WS Convoys
(external links)
1943 Jan. 3 Freetown Durban Jan. 18 WS 25 See 2nd link above
Jan. 21 Durban Karachi Febr. 4 Independent
Febr. 13 Karachi Bombay Febr. 15 Independent
Febr. 24 Bombay Fremantle March 8 Independent
March 9 Fremantle Port Pirie March 15 Independent
March 19 Port Pirie Adelaide March 19 Independent
March 25 Adelaide Balboa Apr. 18 Independent
Apr. 22 Cristobal Key West Independent
Apr. 29 Key West New York City May 6 KN 237 Convoy available at KN convoys
(external link)
May 13 New York City Belfast Lough May 27 HX 239
May 27 Belfast Lough Swansea May 28 BB 294 Convoy available at BB convoys
(external link)
June 7 Swansea Barry June 8 Independent
June 20* Barry Milford Haven June 22 Independent *From Barry Roads, June 22
(Page 3).
June 23 Milford Haven New York City July 10* ON 190 *Page 4 gives arrival July 8.
Convoy will be added.
See ships in ON convoys
July 20 New York City Key West July 27 NK 554 Convoy available at NK convoys
(external link)
July 27 Key West Gitmo Independent
Aug. 1 Gitmo Cristobal Aug. 5 Independent
Aug. 6 Balboa Sydney, N.S.W. Aug. 30 Independent
Sept. 16 Sydney, N.S.W. Melbourne Sept. 19 Independent
Sept. 25 Melbourne Fremantle Sept. 30 Independent
Oct. 2 Fremantle Mauritius Oct. 12 Independent
Oct. 18 Mauritius Tamatave Oct. 22 Independent
Oct. 23 Tamatave Tanga Oct. 26 Independent
Nov. 2 Tanga Mombasa Nov. 2 Independent
Nov. 5 Mombasa Dar-es-Salaam Nov. 6 Independent
Nov. 7 Dar-es-Salaam Mombasa Nov. 7 Independent
Nov. 10 Kilindini Beira Nov. 16 AKD 5 A. Hague says:
Kilindini to Beira.
Convoy available at AKD 5
(external link)
See also Page 4
Nov. 20 Beira Melbourne Dec. 6 Independent
Dec. 13 Melbourne Sydney, N.S.W. Dec. 14 Independent
Dec. 22 Sydney, N.S.W. Melbourne Dec. 24 Independent
1944 Jan. 3 Melbourne Aden Jan. 25 Independent
Jan. 26 Aden Suez Jan. 30 Independent To Port Said, Febr. 6
(Page 4).
Febr. 7 Port Said Alexandria Febr. 9 Independent
Febr. 14 Alexandria Port Said Febr. 15 Independent Missing movements, Page 4.
Febr. 26 Suez Aden March 2 Independent (Had arrived Suez Febr. 25 - Page 4).
March 2 Aden AB 33 Detached March 6.
Convoy available at AB 33
(external link)
March 6 Detached from AB 33 Independent Detachemnt date approx.
Sunk - See "Final Fate" below

 Some Convoy Voyages: 
For information on voyages made in between those mentioned here, please see the documents received from the National Archives of Norway and A. Hague's Voyage Record above.

As can be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Tarifa was in Sourabaya when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940, having arrived there from Manila on Apr. 7. Intended destination when she left Manila on March 26 had originally been Oslo, Norway, but she was diverted to Belfast for orders. From Sourabaya, she later proceeded to Singapore (remaining there for quite a long time), finally heading to the U.K. in July.

Together with Inger Lise, Temeraire and Victo, she's listed in Convoy OA 208, which departed Methil on Sept. 2-1940 and dispersed Sept. 6. Her destination is not given (ref. link provided in Voyage Record), but from the archive document, we learn that she arrived New York on Sept. 14. Her 1941 voyages also start on this document and continue on Page 2, which also shows a few 1942 voyages (it'll be noticed that she occasionally had fairly long stays in port).

Skipping now to Febr.-1942, when A. Hague has included her in Convoy C 4X, departing Cochin on Febr. 28, arriving Fremantle March 13. She carried 240 troops on this voyage (link in the table above - Tai Yin is also listed). From Fremantle, she continued to Adelaide and Port Pirie, then on to Sydney and Newcastle N.S.W. The rest of her 1942 are listed on Page 3 (again showing some long stays in port).

She's listed in Convoy SL 124, which left Freetown on Oct. 3-1942 and arrived Liverpool on the 22nd; Tarifa stopped at Belfast that day, later proceeding to Liverpool, where she remained for several weeks. She had a cargo of grain and mails, and also had a passenger on board. The Norwegian Albert L. Ellsworth and Minister Wedel also took part, as did Norlys (Panamanian flag). She's also named in Convoy WS 25, which left the U.K. on Dec. 18 and arrived Freetown Dec. 31 (the archive document gives her departure Liverpool as Dec. 15). From Freetown, she headed to Durban on Jan. 3-1943 (still in Convoy WS 25), with arrival there on Jan. 18. Follow the links provided within the Voyage Record for further convoy details.

On May 13-1943, I have her in station 101 of Convoy HX 239 from New York to the U.K. Several Norwegian ships took part, as will be seen when following the link. Tarifa had a general cargo for Swansea, and arrived there, via Belfast Lough, on May 29 (Page 3). The following month, we find her in the westbound North Atlantic Convoy ON 190, which originated in Liverpool on June 24 and arrived New York July 9. Tarifa had started out from Milford Haven on June 24 - see Page 4. This convoy will be added to an individual page in my Convoys section in due course, along with more information; in the meantime, the ships sailing in it are named in the section listing ships in all ON convoys. Brajara, California Express, Dageid, Fjordaas, Gefion, Høyanger, Lynghaug, Mosli, Norefjord, Norsol, Orwell, Polartank and Skiensfjord are also listed.

The rest of her voyages are shown on Page 4 above - convoy information for some of them can be found in the Voyage Record.

More details on all the other Norwegian ships mentioned here is available via the alphabet index at the end of this page, or go to the Master Ship Index.

 Final Fate - 1944: 

Tarifa was on a voyage from Suez and Aden to Melbourne with a cargo of, among other things, 8240 tons Phosphate, 1290 tons crude oil, and 500 bags of mail, when she was torpedoed and sunk by U-510 (Eick) on March 7-1944, about 250 n. miles east of Socotra, position 12 48N 58 44E. She had a crew of 47 and also had 101 military personnel from Australia and New Zealand and 1 other passenger on board (under Captain A.I.F. S. R. Dawson). She had left Aden in the evening of March 2 (Page 4) and joined a convoy the following day (Convoy AB 33 - external link), but had left the convoy on March 6 and continued alone, while zig-zagging.

The explosion occurred between holds No. 3 and 4, and a few seconds later another explosion occurred near No. 5 hold. 2 were killed on impact, while a 3rd, Gunner Harry Stiansen was fatally injured and was declared dead by a military doctor after he had been taken into a lifeboat from the water. ("Nortraships flåte" gives his name as H. Kristiansen). He was later buried in the sea.

No SOS could be sent from the ship because all the radio equipment and the radio station had been destroyed. One of the aft lifeboats had been destroyed in the second explosion, but 5 lifeboats were successfullly launched, with the captain leaving the ship as the last man at 11:25, about 5 minutes after the attack had occurred, and a few minutes later Tarifa was gone (Page 4 gives the time as 07:30 GMT, March 7). The survivors were distributed in such a way that as many as possible were taken into the lifeboats and rafts, with each boat taking a raft in tow. At about 11:35, the U-boat was seen surfacing about a mile off, before disappearing in a northerly direction. Distress calls were sent out via the emergency set in the lifeboat, but no replies were received. Another attempt was made at midnight, but again the signals were not acknowledged.

The boats set sail for Socotra, but the next day it was decided that the captain's boat should go on ahead to get help as quickly as possible, and after having taken 3 men from the raft into the boat, the rest of the people on the raft he had been towing were distributed between the other boats, before the raft was let go. With a total of 22 men in the boat the captain left the others. He landed at the Royal Air Force base on Socotra at 19:00 on March 12 where arrangements for the rescue of the remaining crew and passengers were made. On March 13 the first aircraft left the base and within an hour the boats and rafts were spotted, whereupon a Royal Naval vessel was directed to their position. At 03:00 on March 14th, they were all taken on board the British frigate HMS Avon which landed them in Aden (the lifeboats and rafts were shelled and sunk). See also this Guestbook message. The captain was taken to Aden by aircraft that same day, while the others were landed there by a British vessel. By March 16 all the survivors were assembled in Aden.

According to an article written by an able seaman on board at the time, Tarifa had previously made voyages to East Africa, Mauritius, Reunion, Tamatave (Madagaskar), Mombasa, Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Beira, Lourenco Marques, then to Australia where she took on board a cargo for Suez (mostly food stuffs), departing Melbourne on Jan. 2-1944. He says she later headed to El-Quseir (Kosseir) to load a cargo of phosphate for Australia, but stopped by Suez to pick up the soldiers, pilots and Navy personnel who were going home to Australia and New Zealand (compare these voyages with the information found on Page 4). They were to live on deck on this voyage. Tarifa then continued to Aden for bunkers before heading east in a convoy, but left the convoy near Ras al Hadd. The able seaman says they were hit by 2 torpedoes, 1 between No. 2 and 3 hatch, the other on the poop; she sank in 10 minutes. Only those who were on the after deck were forced to jump overboard, the rest were able to get in the 5 boats and some rafts. 1 of the casualties had been crushed between a lifeboat and a raft on the poop deck, another died in his cabin (the 2nd mate stated at the subsequent inquiry that the torpedo struck right below Gunner Olander's cabin, where he was sitting reading at the time). After a week's sailing they were picked up and taken to Aden, where the soldiers were placed in a camp, while the crew were given hotel rooms.

The maritime inquiry was held in Liverpool on Apr. 25-1944 with the 1st and 2nd mates, the 4th engineer and the steward attending. All the witnesses had travelled from Aden to Port Said with Tricolor (according to Tricolor's Voyage Record for this period; she left Aden on March 24 and arrived Port Said March 29), continuing to the U.K. with the British Mahanada (this ship is listed in Convoy MKF 30, which left Port Said on Apr. 8 and arrived Liverpool Apr. 21), while the captain travelled from Aden to Australia.

For info, U-510 was also responsible for the attacks on Alaska, B.P. Newton and Erling Brøvig - follow the links for details.

Crew List:
The 3rd and 4th mates were on watch on the bridge when the attack occurred. The former travelled to London via Liverpool, while the latter remained in Aden.
The 2nd mate was in his cabin amidships - later in the captain's lifeboat.
The 4th engineer was on watch in the engine room, as were the mechanics Albrektsen and Andersen.
The 2nd cook had previously survived the attack on
("The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" by Roger W. Jordan states that 6 died, 146 survived).

Hans Bjønnes
1st Mate
Reidar Stensvold
2nd Mate
Finn Gitmark
3rd Mate
Amund C. Wetlesen
4th Mate
Arthur Toft Nilsen
Radio Operator
John Bruce Esplin
2nd Radio Operator
Eric Ofchinsky
Alf Tidemann Stang
Asbjørn Bollerud
Able Seaman
Mauritz Arvesen
Able Seaman
Julius Storteig
Able Seaman
Henry Karlsen
Able Seaman
Lars Larsen
Able Seaman
Jacob Jacobsen
Able Seaman
Sigvald Brandal
Able Seaman
Fridtjof Siverten
Able Seaman
Johan Pettersen
Ordinary Seaman
John Greatorex
Ordinary Seaman
Roos Ewings
1st Engineer
Peder Egenæss
2nd Engineer
Briand Røhme
3rd Engineer
Alf Sømoe
4th Engineer
Finn Bjørnsen
Helge Kveseth
Jørgen Martinsen
Henry Andresen
Karluf Nilsen
Kristian Jørstad
Lars Vik
Emil Albrektsen
Jens Hansen
Ivar Ahlstrøm
William Conway
Gunnery Officer
Gunder Johnsen
Hans Gule
Reidar Haraldsen
2nd Cook
Nils Kongstein
Mess Boy
Raymond Harris
Saloon Boy
Donald Taylor
Saloon Boy
Chu Pak Hin
Saloon Boy
Shui Bang Pang
Kristian Johnsen
Harald Kolberg
Dag Ånestad
Ivar Moldevær
+ 101 passengers

R. R. Gordon*
(Australian soldier)

Erling Olander

Harry Stiansen

Gunner Olander had been transferred from the Norwegian Tiradentes in Beira at the end of Oct.(?)-1943 (I believe this should be Nov.-1943 - both ships were in Beira at the same time. Here's Tiradentes voyages for this period).
Gunner Stiansen came on board in New York in May that year (see Page 3).

* There's a Robert Raymond Gordon from Australia listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Comm. website - date is given as March 7-1944. Possibly the passenger listed above? He's commemorated at Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Related external links:
Stavern Memorial commemorations - Able Seaman/Gunner Harry Nicolay Stiansen and Gunner Erling Sæther (Olander) are commemorated at this memorial for seamen in Stavern, Norway.

Operations information for U-510

U-510 | Alfred Eick

Back to Tarifa on the "Ships starting with T" page.

Wilh. Wilhelmsen later had another ship by this name, from 1948 till 1969.

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. others as named within above text - (ref. My sources).


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