Shipwrecked from “Djurjura” picked up by “Malange”


Captain: Mário Simões Maia
Type:  Merchant steamer
Tonnage: 3155
Owner: Companhia Colonial de Navegação

Built: 1905
Event: Rescued the only 5 survivors of the steamer Djurjura on 15/06/1941

The “Malange” entered the port of Leixões, North Portugal, on the afternoon of 19 June 1941, bringing the only five survivors of the ship Djurjura, a British steamer sunk days earlier by the Italian submarine “Benedetto Brin”.

The Portuguese ship had found the shipwrecked around 10:30 p.m. on June 15, 1941, east of the Azores, when the crew caught sight of a red very-light that made Captain Mário Simões Maia change the route to investigate.

The very red light had been fired from a dinghy containing the only survivors of the 38 crewmen of the "Djurdjura". The castaways explained that after the sinking they had searched the wreck for hours investigating to be sure that there was no other survivors. With this information the "Malange" returned to its route to Portugal.

The newcomers received clothes, as some were completely naked, food and one of them received some special attention he had "strong burns, resulting from the exposure of the naked body to sunlight for three days, being necessary to bind and smear him with Vaseline",  explains the report of Mario Simões Maia.


The Sinking of the "Djurdjura"

The "Djurdjura" was carrying steel and in a convoy when, at 1.30 am of 13 June 1941, he was struck by a torpedo fired by the Italian submarine “Benedetto Brin”, which made the ship disappear in the water in about 20 seconds, with 33 of its crew.

The five men who managed to escape searched other mates among the wreckage for 27 hours, before heading for the Azores. Two days later they saw the lights of the "Malange" and fired the rocket.

Benedetto Brin was able to sink two ships during the attack on the convoy. Besides the "Djurdjura" they also hit a Greek freighter, the "Eirini Kyriakides", from whom no survivors are known.

The "Djurdjura", built in 1922, belonged first to a British company before being sold, in 1927, to a French one. On June 27, 1940, after the surrender of France, the ship was in the British port of Falmouth where the British seized and placed it in service of the Ministry of Transport.



Captain: Pierre Edmond de La Rue
Type: Merchant Steamer
Tonnage: 3460
Owner: Ministry of War Transport

Homeport: Manchester
Built: 1922
Fate: Sunk on 13 June 1941. 33 death, 5 survivors.


  • Archives: National Archives UK, Kew (GB); Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (PT); Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT);
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