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Built 1935

Tonnage:  2,665 / 4,763 tons

Cargo. Ballast

Route: Capetown - Baltimore 

Sunk  20 MAY 43  by U-197 on pos. 06º05"S 12º56"W

0 Dead

44 Survivors

The Benakat (Master C.J. Grootes) left Capetown in a coastal convoy which was formed in the Table Bay, but left after three days to continue her voyage on the prescribed route to the destination. On 14 May, 1943 the Admiralty radioed a new course. At 07.28 hours on 20 May she was struck by a torpedo from U-197 on the starboard side, just before the bridge. The explosion caused very heavy damage, wrecked the starboard lifeboat and destroyed the starboard machinegun-platform, injuring the first and fourth mate (not seriously). After the hit no electric power was left, so the distress signal could only be send a few times.

The ship began to list to starboard, and with some difficulty the crew succeeded in boarding the three remaining lifeboats and rowed away. About 20 minutes later a second torpedo hit the Benakat on the starboard side and broke her in two. The bow section sank and the stern remained afloat. The U-boat surfaced and fired with the deck gun at the port side of the vessel until the stern sank.

By Benakat (Dutch Steam tanker) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII -

Above, survivors in one lifeboat went ashore at Ascension Island and were treated at the 175º Station Hospital. The remaining survivors were rescued on 7 July after 17 days adrift by the British Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Corfu that landed them at Freetown, West Africa. 



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