Ships hit by U-boats


Dutch Steam merchant

This photo of Ceres is dated 27 Feb, 1943 (!).

Type:Steam merchant
Tonnage2,680 tons
Completed1919 - J. & K. Smit’s Scheepswerven, Kinderdijk 
OwnerNV Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Mij (KNSM), Amsterdam 
Date of attack13 Mar 1943Nationality:      Dutch
FateSunk by U-68 (Albert Lauzemis)
Position14° 50'N, 71° 46'W - Grid EC 5533
Complement39 (2 dead and 37 survivors).
RouteNew York (3 Mar) - Curaçao - Paramaribo 
Cargo3386 tons of general cargo , including foodstuffs, machinery, helium and a motorboat 
History Completed in February 1919 
Notes on event

Between 09.51 and 09.52 hours on 13 March 1943, U-68 fired three torpedoes at a freighter and a tanker in convoy GAT-49 in clear weather and a moonless night about 170 miles northwest of Curaçao and hit the Cities Service Missouri with one of them. The U-boat then fired a spread of two torpedoes in a second attack on convoy at 10.24 hours, hitting the Ceres with both and afterwards finished off the damaged tanker behind convoy.

The torpedoes struck Ceres (Master Hendrik Cornelis Elderenbosch) on the starboard side, the first underneath the bridge and the second in #5 hold. The explosions set the cargo stored in #3 and #5 holds on fire and completely smashed the wireless room, charthouse and wheelhouse. The crew of 34 men, two gunners (the ship was armed with one 3in gun) and three passengers immediately began to abandon ship in both starboard lifeboats as an increasing list made it impossible to use the ones on the port side. Alarmed by the previous attack the most men managed to leave the Ceres just before she buckled up and sank two minutes after being hit. Two crew members were lost. At dawn the survivors in the two boats searched the area for others who had jumped overboard, picking up a number of men out of the water and from the four rafts that had been released. USS Biddle (DD 151) (LtCdr T.A. Torgerson, USN) found a survivor from Ceres in the water after picking up the survivors from Cities Service Missouri and subsequently rescued 36 more from the lifeboats and rafts about six hours after the sinking. On 14 March, the destroyer landed all survivors in Willemstad, Curaçao.

On boardWe have details of 39 people who were on board

If you can help us with any additional information on this vessel then please contact us.

Return to Allied Ships hit by U-boats