SS INDIA ARROW


A 468' long tanker (sister ship to the Dixie Arrow, China Arrow -- also lost during WWII), the India Arrow was built at the Fore River Shipyard at Quincy MA in 1921. She was torpedoed by the U-103 and sunk on 4 February 1942 at position 38.48 N / 73.40 W. She was carrying a full load of 88.369 barrels of diesel oil to New York when the submarine ambushed the vessel late at night. While part of the Arrow immediately rested on the bottom, the ship refused to sink until the next day. 
    She now sits in 180' of water, intact and upside down, though canted to one side with a debris field strewn across the sand. Artifacts are abundant around the forward and stern superstructure areas. The India Arrow is an impressive wreck that has only been dove a few times recently. 

   The India Arrow was owned by the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company and operated out of New York. She was a 8,327 ton tanker with a draft of 38' 6". Her master on that voyage was Captain  Carl Samuel Johnson. She was not armed, and had no way of defending herself from attack.

   The India Arrow sailed from Corpus Christi, Texas, en route to Carteret, New Jersey. About thirty-five miles due east of Five Fathom Bank, the U-103 (Winter) intercepted the tanker. The India Arrow was steering a non-evasive course when the torpedo struck the starboard quarter at about the # 10 bunker. The ship caught fire and began to sink by the stem at a rapid rate. The radio operator sent a distress signal but not a position before the dynamo failed. Within three minutes the crew of nine officers and twenty-nine men began abandoning ship. Minutes later the U-103 started shelling the vessel from a distance of approximately 250 yards. The submarine fired seven shells at two- minute intervals, setting the after portion of the ship afire. The crew managed to launch successfully only one of the ship's four lifeboats. In a sea of blazing oil two other boats swamped, and the rapidly sinking tanker pulled the #2 boat beneath the water. Only one officer and eleven men survived, rescued by the twenty-four foot fishing skiff Gitana twelve miles off Atlantic City. Two men died as a result of the shelling, and the remaining men apparently drowned when the two boats swamped.

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