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Tankexpress ex Petrofina. Photo.

Built: 1937

Tonnage: 10,095 / 15,310 tons

Cargo: Ballast

Route: Milford - Freetown (22 Jul) - Trinidad - Aruba 

Sunk 25 Jul 1942 by U – 130 on pos. 10° 05'N, 26° 31'W

0 Dead

39 Survivors

Completed in July 1937 as Petrofina for Sigurd Herolfson & Co A/S, Oslo. 1939 renamed Tankexpress for the same owner. Since 1940 in Admiralty service as Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA).

At 16.53 hours on 25 July 1942 the unescorted Tankexpress (Master Anders Skånberg) was hit on the starboard side behind the bridge in the #4 wing tank by two torpedoes from U-130 south of the Cape Verde Islands. The explosions blew away the boatdeck and a raft, destroyed a lifeboat and caused the flying bridge to collapse. The tanker developed a heavy list to starboard and the crew abandoned ship in a motorboat and two lifeboats after sending distress signals that were not acknowledged.

At 17.20 hours, the U-boat fired a coup de grâce that hit on the port side in the engine room after a first coup de grâce had missed five minutes earlier. The tanker still remained afloat so the U-boat surfaced and fired 87 rounds from the deck gun until the ship capsized and sank at 18.37 hours.

The lifeboats were tied together and first towed towards Freetown by the motorboat, but the next day they set sails and were located after a voyage of about 500 miles. In the evening on 1 August, the survivors were picked up by HMS Lightning (G 55) (Cdr R.G. Stewart, RN) about 250 miles from Freetown and landed at Gibraltar on 9 August.



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