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20)ITAGIBA U-507

Photo by Nelson Carrera

Built: 1913

Tonnage: 927/2,055 tons

Cargo: 2,000 crates of beer, 3,000 tons of trucks, tires, drums of Diesel oil, and 30,000 rubber harvesting spoons.

Route. Rio de Janeiro - Vitoria, Espírito Santo - Salvador, Bahia - Recife, Pernambuco 

Sunk 17 AUG 42 by U-507 on pos 13º20"S 38º40"W

39 Dead

158 Survivors

The first vessel to be sacrificed by U-507 was the merchant Itagiba, 2305 tons of registry, and owned by Companhia de Navegação Costeira. The other was the small cargo Arara. British built,  Itagiba had departed the port of Vitoria some 200 miles north of Rio de Janeiro, bound for Salvador, Bahia, at 06:00AM 15 Aug, under master Jose Nunes. In the morning of 17th, around 10:45, when sailing   somewhere off Bahia coastline, within Saint Paul Hills in sight, the ship was hit portside by one strong impact at #3 hold. Master Jose Nunes soon sounded the alarm in an attempt to call the attention of Yacht Aragipe crewmen which was sailing alongside his ship. A huge fountain rose over the doomed ship.

Three survivors from Itagiba are seen upon their land at São Paulo Lighthouse. 

Upon that, he turned to the rescue tasks. Winds were blowing strong, and sea was rough with large swells, quite natural for the season in August. One lifeboat was hauled out against a funnel once the ship was listing badly, half submerged. With the sinking, Master Jose Nunes was sucked and plunged too, but miraculously managed to come to surface. Swimming hastily he clang to flotsam until he was finally fished out by one boat, and when they were able to steer to the small yacht Aragipe, which came in support, one more explosion occurred, and they saw their ship to blow up, sending large chunks of metal, all sort of debris in the air.

With the proximity of the concussion provoked by the blast, their tiny boat went down in the swells and momentarily was swept by a wall of water. Afloat again but bobbing, the men managed to reach another lifeboat adrift in view. Once again, they boarded and set forth to Saint Paul lighthouse, where they got ashore at 07:00am the following day in complete dismay, exhausted by the lack of practice with the oars. There, they received the first medical care.

Given the speed of the sinking, the position could not be exactly determined as well as the identity of the aggressor. Steamer carried 181 people including 121 passengers, almost all serving at several garrisons of 7th military region spread throughout Northeast. In the disaster, 30 passengers and 9 crewmen perished.



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