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15)CAIRU U-94


Built: 1919

Tonnage: 5,152 / 7,140 tons

Cargo: 3,060 tons of general Cargo including 115 tons of pharmaceutical, textiles and 423 tons of castor seeds, hides and 440 tons of timber loaded at Belem. From Recife 397 tons of castor seeds, coffe, cotton and edible oils. From Natal 125 tons of castor seeds, bran, rubber and cotton. From Cabedelo 585 tons of castor seeds, cotton and hides and from São Luis 975 tons of Babassu. 

Sunk 9 Mar, 1942 by U-94 on pos. 39º 10N 72º 02"W

53 Dead

27 Survivors

On march the 9th a little far north from the sinking of steamer Arabutan, the next to be sunk was the merchant Cairu, with 5152 tons, owned by Brazilian Lloyd. His master was Jose Pequeno. At 7:30 pm when the steamer which was camouflaged and unlit, was hit by a torpedo amidships at starboard side on #2 hold. Upon the explosion the engines were cut and sent S. O .S. Following the order to abandon ship, the lifeboats were lowered and salvage procedures were performed in the best possible way.

Once the boats got away from  the ship, the u boat fired  a second torpedo which hit the vessel at portside and  provoked the  sinking of Cairu within 25 minutes, at coordinates 39º 00" N 072º 00" W. Upon the second torpedo hit, the U-boat drew nearer from the #3 lifeboat, where the chief mate and one German asked in English the name was and nationality of the ship. After that the sub dived and disappeared.

Merchant Cairu had a crew of 74 men and 14 passengers. Moments before the sinking of Cairu, the steamer Titania had been intercepted by one u boat, which upon verified the armament the latter had, and her ability to fight back if attacked, left the Titania unmolested. It’s noteworthy to mention something about Brazilian Cairu master, Jose Pequeno, who died during the sinking of his ship.

Before his last mission, he got sick when still enroute to the northern Brazilian harbor of Belem. Then he would be replaced in view of his health conditions. However when the news of the sinking of the merchant Buarque came, master Jose Pequeno, considering his replacement as a cowardice, become adamant and decided to proceed in the journey until his final destination. During the sinking, he acted with extreme gallantry, resilience and sense of duty before his men. Once inside the lifeboat, a sudden storm and gale came with snow.

Rolling sea finally capsized his boat and drowned several men. With his boat making water he stubbornly refused to be fished out by one boat in the proximities, and soon after he disappeared in the vastness of the sea giving his men an example of sacrifice, and patriotism. Survivors of Cairu were adrift until 11:00 am the following day, when they were sighted and rescued by the Norwegian Titania. They were in a total of 26. 22 from the crew and 4 passengers; and were taken to New York harbor were landed safely at 8:00 pm that same day.



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