The “Gronelândia” picked up the castaways from the “Trinidad”


Captain: João Fernandes Matias
Type: Cod fish schooner
Tonnage: 441 
Owner: Armazéns José Luíz da Costa & Comp. 

Homeport: Lisbon
Built: Portugal, 1922
Event: Rescued five crew memebers of the panamian ship Trinidad on the 25 September 1941.

At the port of Leixões arrived on September 27, 1941 the Portuguese cod fisher "Gronelândia" and the Spanish trawler "Moderno Agujas", each carrying five shipwrecked of the Panamanian ship "Trinidad" picked up in different days and hundreds of miles away from each other.

The "Gronelândia", under the command of João Fernandes Matias, was returning from the fishing grounds of Newfoundland when, at 1:00 p.m. on the 25th, he found and picked up five men - of five different nationalities - who belonged to the "Trinidad", sunk on day 5 by a German submarine. The lifeboat was found about 210 miles from the port of Leixões.

The "Moderno Agujas " on the other hand gathered their shipwrecked 30 miles from Cape Mondego on the 26th, and among them was the Captain of the “Trinidad”, Lambarto Basnote, who was wounded, reason why the the master of the trawler, Juan Mirande, entered the closest port, in this case Leixões, in north Portugal.

Among the castaways were individuals of six different nationalities, five of whom were Spanish. Weeks later the British Embassy sent a note requesting the Portuguese authorities not to correspond to a Spanish request ordering the surrender of these crew members. They were likely men who had fought alongside the Republicans during the Spanish civil war years earlier. Teh country was now being governed by the nationalists that now probably wanted to arrest them. The reply of the Portuguese authorities could not be found.


The sinking of the "Trinidad"

At 23.50 hours on September 5, 1941 the U-95 intercepted the Trinidad, 360 miles northwest of Cape Finisterre, to undergo a contraband inspection. A few minutes later, facing the apparent lack of response from the ship, the commander of the submarine fired a few cannon shots near the bridge, at which point a boat was lowered with the captain and the documentation of the Panamanian on board.

The Germans soon realized that there was cargo coming from England on board which led to the ship's condemnation. The crew had 20 minutes to leave and then the Germans fired a total of 37 shells to sink it, while the crew left in two lifeboats.


Captain: Lambarto Basnote
Type:  Motor Merchant
Tonnage: 434
Owner: Naviera Ortu-Zara SA

Homeport: Panama
Built: Netherlands, 1939
Fate: Sunk by U-95 on 5 September 1941. All 10 crew survived.


  • Archives/Arquivos: National Archives UK, Kew (GB); Arquivo Histórico do MNE (PT); 
  • Sites:; 
  • Books & Publications/ Livros & Publicações : Navios da Marinha Portuguesa, datas 1939 a 1945;