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24)OLINDA U-432

Above Olinda seen as former British Cara. Photo.

Built 1905

Tonnage 4,085 tons

Cargo: 53 000 bags of cocoa, coffee and castor beans

Sunk 18 Feb 42 by U-432 on pos 36º 56’N 73º 30’W

0 Dead

46 Survivors

Three days after the attack on the steamer Buarque, in the same area, another Brazilian steamer was attacked and sunk, this time in daylight sun at noon, on February 18th 1942. Without previous advice. The victim was the steamer Olinda with 4 085 tons. She sailed from Santa Lucia, Lesser Antilles outbound to New York, his master captain Jacob Benemond.

The German u boat crew manned the deck gun and shelled 14 times, but only 3 hit the steamer which blew up the antenna and the radio room. Without alarm, captain Benemond gave the order to abandon ship. Two lifeboats were lowered to sea. 46 men boarded them.  Once they got away from the ship, the u boat came closer and the men in the conning tower demanded the presence of the captain and radio operator in the sub.

There they were questioned about the nature of the cargo and if during attack any  SOS was radioed. Captain Benemond and radio operator were taken pictures and out of the sub the Germans took pictures of the survivors. Upon the return of the two men to the lifeboats, the U -boat shelled the ship with 20 rounds at a short distance, after that the ship began listing hard to port slowly, agonizing, hissing, and disappeared under the surface in almost one hour.

In this dramatic scenario, captain Benemond showed skillfulness, “sang froid” and energy over his men. Hours later 4 coast guard aircraft flew overhead which made the sub crash dive and disappear beneath the waves. One of the planes made a low passage while blinked to the survivors “Help on The way”. The men remained packed in their overcrowded lifeboats, adrift, clinging to a string of hope. 20 long hours elapsed when around 8:00, Destroyer USS Dallas 199 hove in sight and picked up the extenuated men. They landed in Newport News and were given medical assistance.

Destroyer USS Dallas. Photo by Mike Green



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