North Atlantic, 500 M west of Ireland
The Dutch merchant freighter MV Abbekerk is sailing the last leg of a 5 months voyage that took her all around the world. She sailed from England, loaded with war materials and ammunition, via Capetown to Suez to supply troops in North Africa. After that, via the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Panama canal back to the Atlantic heading for England, her holds filled with Copra en Bauxite.
The Battle of the Atlantic is raging. In september 1941 alone 60 allied merchant ships had been sunk by German U-boats. Abbekerk has a cruising speed of 17 knots which is considered fast enough to render a succesful attack by U-boat almost impossible. That is why she sails independently and not in one of the many escorted convoys that cross the North Atlantic with speeds often no higher than 8 to 10 knots.
The crew are unaware of the fact that the ships has just passed some 10 nautical miles from the spot where, 11 months from now, her next nerve-racking voyage will end.
Starting November 15, I will use this blog to write a week-by-week (sometimes even day-by-day) report of Abbekerks thrilling last voyage, exactly 75 years ago . On this website – build around my fathers memoirs on the Abbekerk – you can already find a lot of information about this ship and her crew. With this week-by-week blog I want to highlight her last voyage in a more chronologic and historical context. With references to the website and a lot of information not (yet) on the website.