Sjøforklaring 1939 - 1945
Informasjonen nedenfor vedr. skip i Nortraships flåte er direkte avskrift av orginalkilden "Sjøforklaringer fra andre verdenskrig (1940 - 1945)". Informasjonen her er fra sjøforklaringer holdt under og rett etter krigen og kan derfor avvike noe fra den øvrige kvalitetssikrede informasjonen i Krigsseilerregisteret.
The Master's statement
Lorentz Gustav Akse c/o Norwegian Shipping & Trade Mission, states:-
I hold a Norwegian Master's Certificate and have had same since 1925. I was master of the steel screw steamship "Korsfjord" ...
We loaded about 916 tons of Herring Meal at Hestery and Djupavik in Iceland after which we proceeded to Reykjavik for sailing ordres and route instructions which included orders to pass about 8 miles north of the Butt of Lewis, from the British Navy Control. These were in writing but were lost with the ship as also were all the log books.
On getting my sailing orders I found that we were to proceed to Hull via Kirkwall, and we left Reykjavik on the morning of Sunday the 19th January, 1941, drawing about 11 feet forward and 14 feet aft.
In accordance with standing orders from the Navy Control we did not exhibit navigation lights between sunset and sunrise except when necessary to avoid collision.
We experienced bad weather during the 20th and 21st January, but on the evening of the 21st the wind moderated to a strong breeze from the N.E. with a heavy sea and occasional squalls of snow and sleet from the same direction. There was little or no tide, but such as there was would be followning the course of the wind, i.e. setting in a south westerly direction.
The times given in this statement are all B.S.T.
It was the Chief Officer's watch from 7 p.m. on the 21st January to midnight, but I was also on the bridge from 7.15 p.m. until about 11.15 p.m. An ordinary seaman was keeping a lookout from the bridge and from 11 p.m. the Carpenter was at the wheel which was steem steering in a wheelhouse.
At 10.15 p.m. I set a course of S.65 E. true which would be S.45#. magnetic and S48 E. by the steering compass and contiued on with engines working at full speed, but only making good owing to the heavy sea about 5 knots.
About 11.10 p.m. whilst I was still on the bridge we experienced a heavy squall of snow and sleet which passed in about 5 minutes when as the weather was no absolutely clear ahead with a visibility for objects without lights of between one and two miles. I went below into my cabin whcih is immediately under the bridge to get some coffee, leaving orders with the Chief Officer to be sure and call me in the event of anything being sighted.
When I had been in my cabin about 5 minutes the Chief Officer called to me through the cabin door that he had observed two large vessels on the starboard bow, whereupon I ordered him to switch on our side lights which were dimmed to a visbility of about a mile by perfoated shades placed over the bulbs as advised by the Navy Control and then ran up on to the bridge. On arriving on the bridge I saw the vessels which the Chief Officer had reported to me without lights, the leading now bearing three to four points on the starboard bow and distant about a mile and the other a little astern of her and bearing about 3 points on the starboard bow. Shortly afterward I made out the loom of a third vessel following the other two, all three apparently being on an opposite course to my ship and on crossing the bridge from starboard to port I made out another vessel without lights about a beam on our port side, an distant, I estimate, about half a mile. I then realised that my vessel was in between two columnds of a convoy outward bound, but the vessels mentioned were in a position to pass all clear and in fact did so.
We were still on our course of S. 65 E. true with engines working at full ahead, making about 5 knots.
About a minute after seeing the vessel on our port beam and whilst still maintaining our course and speed the lookout-man reported, and at the same time I made out the loom of another vessel without lights bearing between 2 and 3 points on our port bow and distant between one and two miles. I then ordered our forward masthead light which was not dimmed to be switched on which was done by the Chief Officer. I carefully watched this vessel, and in two or three minutes when she was distant about half a mile, or a little more, as she had not broadened on our bow I concluded that she must be on a course which would cut ours from port to starboard, whereupon bearing in mind that she would be seeing our red lights as well as our masthead light I sounded one short blast on our whistle and ordered the man at the wheel to give hard a starboard wheel. To this signal the other vessel replied with two short blasts, whereupon I sounded the danger signal indicated by a series of short blasts, five or more. I did not, however, reverse my engines, expecting that the other vessel would now alter course to starboard and pass us port side to port side as she could and should have done. She, however, continued on swinging with her head to port, and in a short time with her stem struck my vessel a heavy blow on the port side in the way of No. 1 hatch at about a right angle cutting into her nearly up to the hatch coaming.
At the time of the collision my vessel was still making about 5 knots, and the other vessel appeared to be going at full speed making about 8 or 9 knots.
I estimate that when the collision occurred my vessel, which owing to the heavy sea running had been sluggish on her helm, had altered under her hard a starboard wheel about 2 points.
As a ressult of the collision our head was forced round to starboard and the vessels got more or less parallel to one another.
Immediately the collision occured I stopped the engines of my vessel and fearing she would sink ordered all hands on deck.
In consequence of the damage sustained by my vessel she quickly commenced to go down by the head and I ordered the starboard lifeboat to be lowered. I then went down into the cabin to get my ship's papers, and on my return seeing that the port lifeboat could be lowered I gave orders for this to be launched and for the crew to belonged to the port lifeboat to man that boat. I then passed my bag containing the ship's papers to the starboard lifeboat. There was, however, owing to the heavy sea running great difficulty in the crew getting into the boats. In fact the port lifeboat was struck by a heavy sea and filled but remained afloat with the members of the crew who had got into her. Unfortunately, however, two men lost their lives i.e. the second engineer Knut Kalsaas, a man of about 70 years of age, and a seaman named Tarboaco, a Rumanian subject.
The survivors of the crew, 17 in all, together with the two British Gunners, eventually got on board the colliding vessel, which had searched round for the missing and sent up rockets for the colliding vessel to come to us.
It was as near as I can say about half an hour after the collision occurred that my vessel foundered going down by the head.
The collision occurred about 11.30 p.m. B.S.T., in approximately Lat. 60.40 N. and Long. 12.9. W., which is about 200 miles N.W. of the Butt of Lewis and , in my opinon, was entirely caused by the "Bandar Shahpoor" failing to take steps in proper time to keep clear of my vessel by passing her port to prot, which she could easiliy have done, seeing that my vessel was exhibiting dimmed side lights for about 10 minutes prior to the collision, and our forward masthead light undimmed at least 5 minutes before the collision.
The "Bandar Shahpour" eventually landed the survivors of mye crew and the two British Gunners at Stornaway, but owing to the bad weather experienced this was not until the 25th.
Whilst on board the "Bandar Shahpour" the Captain of that vessel told me that some little time before the collision, whilst the 3rd Officer was in charge on the bridge, one of the Escorting vessels of the convoy had shown green Very lights which he had not understood. In my experience, however, gained from convoys I had been in, this was a signal for an emergency turn of 40 degrees to starboard, and this I told the Captain. It follows therefore, that if the "Bandar Shahpour" had altered 40 degrees to starboard she would have passed my vessel all clear port to port on about an opposite course as in fact did another vessel on our port side.
No lights were exhibited by the "Bandar Shahpour" from first to last, and the only whistle signal given by her was two short blasts.
I think it right to mention that the "Bandar Shah-pour" which was in the course of a voyage from London to the Persian Gulf was laden with a general cargo, including cement, and that she had four aeroplanes on deck.
In consequence of the sinking of the "Korsfjord" all hands lost their clothes and personal effects except such as they were wearing.