Linda van Ekelenburg
Updated: May 15, 2019
Second Officer Dirk van Ekelenburg’s ship, the MV Berakit, was torpedoed at 05:56 on May 7, 1943, by the Japanese submarine I-27, under Lt. Cdr. Fukumura Toshiaki, while in the Gulf of Oman, bound from Colombo (capital of then British Ceylon, today, Sri Lanka) to Durban, South Africa. A 6,608 gross ton, 137 m. (450 ft.) cargo and passenger vessel with four diesel engines, she was built in 1924 in Hamburg by Blohm & Voss, and christened the Vogtland. She had been captured in 1940 from Germany by the Dutch in Batavia. After discharging the torpedo, Fukumura surfaced his submarine and sank the merchantman with her deck guns. Four crewmen perished when she was shelled and sunk, and her captain, Marten Seus Kruisinga, was taken prisoner by the Japanese, in whose custody he died in 1944. The remaining crew and passengers, 73 persons, were rescued on May 10, partly by the SS Ocean Hope and partly by HMS Verbena.
Photo courtesy of Hans van Ekelenburg
The cover photo on That Damned Torpedo is not the Berakit but rather an image from Shutterstock, captioned as follows: "A torpedoed American tanker burning after an Axis submarine attack. Crew members brought the fire under control and the ship was towed to port for repair. Ca. 1942-43. World War 2."