The Inhambane found the Harmonic survivors

O Inhambane

The Inhambane
(Photo: Unknown Author)


Captain: Lourenço Fernandes (?)
Type: Merchant Steamer
Tonnage: 3600  GT 
Owner: Soc. Geral de Comércio, Indústria e Transportes

Homeport: Lisbon
Built:  J. C. Tecklemborg, Alemanha (1912)

On July 22, 1943, the Portuguese steamer Inhambane was in a return trip from Montevideo, Uruguay, to Lisbon, when at 7 am lifeboat carrying the 46 survivors from the British steamship Harmonic was found. They had been sunk by U-172 days before.

According to the Portuguese press, the men were thirsty and craved tobacco. Clothing was also provided and injuries had also to be treated.

The Portuguese commander understood that the trip to Lisbon, with so many people on board, would be very long and difficult, so he headed to the port of Baía, in Brazil. As he did not want to dock, he sent a telegram to the British consul asking for a ship to transfer the men at the entrance to the port. The English authorities prepared the operation and on the 24th, at 5:30 pm, the Inhambane made the transfer, resuming the route to Lisbon at 9:00 pm.

The Harmonic – traveling between Argentina en Sierra Leone - was hit by a torpedo fired by U-172 at 8:43 pm on July 15, 1943. A man died in the explosion, but the remaining crew managed to save themselves in the only lifeboat they could lower. Help was offered from the submarine to one of the injured - which was refused - and the captain also apologized for sinking the ship before moving away.

The Harmonic's commander decided to sail to the South American coast and on the morning they were picked up by the Portuguese ship they had seen land for the first time.

Carlos Guerreiro 


Captain: Roland Stott
Type: Steam Merchant
Tonnage: 4,558GT
Owner: J. & C. Harrison Ltd, London 

Homeport: London
Built: Robert Thompson & Sons (1930)


National Archives UK, Kew (GB)  § Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT)  §  Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT)  §  §  Shipping Company Losses of the second World War, Ian M. Malcolm  § Lista dos Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945  §  Alan J. Tennent, British and Commonwealth merchant ship Losses to Axis submarines 1939-1945 §  Diário de Notícias  §