canadian SS Fort Athabasca (+1943)
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general
nationality canadian
purpose transport
type cargo ship
subtype/class Liberty EC2-S-C1
Liberty EC2-S-C1 Richard Montgomery SS [+1944]
propulsion steam
date built 1943
is nickname no
status
unknown
details
weight (tons) 7132  grt
dimensions 134.6 x 17.4 x 10.6 m
material steel
engine Triple expansion engines
armament 1 x stern mounted 4"/102 mm deck gun  [*]
power 505  n.h.p.
speed 11  knots
yard no. 175
about the loss
cause lost explosion
other reasons fire
date lost 02/12/1943  [dd/mm/yyyy]
casualties  max.46rank: 595
about people
builder
Burrard Drydock Co., Vancouver
owner
Canadian Government, Vancouver
captain
about the wreck
depth (m.)
orientation
protected
war grave
references
references
 Hocking C., Dictionary of Disasters at Sea during the Age of Steam
updates
entered by Vleggeert Nico
entered 28/03/2010
last update Lettens Jan
last update 30/01/2011


[*] means that the value was inherited from Richard Montgomery SS [+1944], the reference for Liberty EC2-S-C1.
 
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Lettens Jan30/01/2011The SS Fort Athabasca was a merchant ship owned by the Canadian Government but registered in Great Britain. She was owned by a crown corporation, Wartime Merchant Shipping Ltd., which chartered them to the British Ministry of War Transport.

On 2nd December 1943 the Fort Athabasca was in the docks at Bari loaded and ready for departure carrying 76 tons of cargo, mail and 2 captured German 1000 rocket bombs. It was part of a large allied convoy of tankers, ammunition ships and supply vessels at anchor in Bari.

When 20 German planes attacked and when one of the ammunition ships was hit and blew up, it started a domino effect of events. Ship after ship caught on fire. The ship next to the Athabasca blew up, and despite the crews’ heroic efforts, the 2 German bombs exploded killing 46 men out of her complement of 56.
Vleggeert Nico29/03/2010The British steamship Fort Athabaska was destroyed by an explosion of an ammunition ship during an air raid when on route from Algiers for Bari.
ref. used 
  mariners-l.co.uk
Lettens Jan30/01/2011BARI BOMBING DISASTER, 2 December 1943

The German air attack on Bari, Italy opened at 1925 hours 2nd December 1943, with bombers (105 Ju-88s) hitting allied merchants unloading supplies for the forces engaged in the battle for Rome.

Fire on ammunition ships John Harvey and bomb hits on John L. Motley caused massive detonations which shattered windows seven miles away. A bulk gasoline pipeline and supply were severed and the gushing fuel ignited engulfing other ships.

Seventeen merchant ships laden with nearly 35,000 tons of cargo were destroyed (5 American, 5 British, 3 Norwegian, 2 Italian, 2 Polish, with another 7 vessels heavily damaged). The port area was closed for three weeks and was only back in operation by February 1944. ...

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  History  
 
Lettens Jan30/01/2011BARI BOMBING DISASTER, 2 December 1943

The German air attack on Bari, Italy opened at 1925 hours 2nd December 1943, with bombers (105 Ju-88s) hitting allied merchants unloading supplies for the forces engaged in the battle for Rome.

Fire on ammunition ships John Harvey and bomb hits on John L. Motley caused massive detonations which shattered windows seven miles away. A bulk gasoline pipeline and supply were severed and the gushing fuel ignited engulfing other ships.

Seventeen merchant ships laden with nearly 35,000 tons of cargo were destroyed (5 American, 5 British, 3 Norwegian, 2 Italian, 2 Polish, with another 7 vessels heavily damaged). The port area was closed for three weeks and was only back in operation by February 1944.

In total, 800 crew and civilians lost their lifes in the fire, explosions and poisoning by mustard gas that was on board John Harvey.

List of ships lost:

ALLIED MERCHANTS

John Harvey (US Liberty, 7177 gt)
John L. Motley (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
John Bascom (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
Joseph Wheeler (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
Samuel J. Tilden (US Liberty, 7176 gt)
Fort Athabasca (Canadian, 7132 gt)
Fort Lajoie (Canadian, 7134 gt )
Testbank (British, 5083 gt)
Lars Kruse (British, 1897 gt)
Devon Coast (British, 646 gt)
Bollsta (Norwegian, 1832 gt)
Norlom (Norwegian, 6412 gt)
Lom (Norwegian, 1268 gt)
Lwow (Polish, 1409 gt)
Puck (Polish, 1065 gt)
Frosinone (Italian, 5202 gt)
Barletta (Italian, 1975 gt)

OTHER:
Inaffondabile (Italian)
 
 
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