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                                   THE INTERCEPTATION OF SPANISH SHIP S.S. MONTE AMBOTO

Apparently information from Alusna (American Legation United States Naval Attaché) Buenos Airesindicated that the Spanish ship, S.S. Monte Amboto sailing from Buenos Aires to Tenerife was carrying a suspected Graf Spee internee. The U.S.S. Carib ATF 82 was moored in BahiaBrazil at this time. This information resulted in Lt. Cdr. Leventen, Lt. Cdr. Murphy and Lt. Halliwell  from NOF 150 coming aboard the Carib at 0810 on the morning of Friday, January 7, 1944 with orders to intercept the S. S. Monte Amboto and remove the suspect.

The Carib got underway at 0840 and approximately two hours later was in the vicinity of the S.S. Monte Amboto. A boarding party was assembled. As I remember there were about a total of eight men which included one or two officers. I do know that A.M. Borges, a GM2/c from the crew of the Carib was among the group primarily due to his ablity to speak Portuguese. I volunteered to be on the boarding party.

How young and foolish we were in those days. The boarding party left the Carib  at 1017 and I remember distinctly that an officer, probably Lt. Cdr. Leventen, GM2/c Borges and possible one other person went below on the Spanish ship to pick up the man in question. The rest of us stood on the fantail of the ship with our weapons in an “at rest” mode. During the time we waited in this formation, the Carib circled the S. S. Monte Amboto with it’s 3’ 50 gun pointed at my head. (At least that is the way it seemed to me at the time)

The suspect was given time to pack all his belongings and was then brought up to the main deck where he was placed in the boat with all of us in the boarding party to return to the Carib.  I remember the man as being of slight stature, clean and young. He made a very nice appearance. It just happened that when he was climbing down  into the boat, he had gotten his hands quite dirty. I was sitting immediately to his right.

He raised his hands to show me how dirty they were so I indicated that he should wipe them on my dungarees. He did. We were back aboard the Carib at 1217. He was later taken into custody inBahia. Further investigation determined that the suspect was Luis Leonardo Wissman , a Swiss citizen and not the person that the intelligence people thought he was. Mr. Wissman was later returned to another Spanish ship so he could continue on his original planned  trip.

By Evan G. Lindner


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