Posted by: de domenico
Date: February 24, 2017 04:00AM
the Vichy French cargo SAINTE MARCELLE, former Norwegian VIGOER, of 1,518 grt/1935, was the unwilling actor in a curious, very little known history page.
Germany had reached an agreement (the so-called "Paris protocols") with admiral Darlan on 28 May, 1941 to obtain - among other things -the use of the harbour of Biserta in Tunisia for the Afrika Korps' supply requirements. This agreement was not accepted by the Pétain government, however, and compensatory measures were then agreed between the two parties. Among them was the shipping of trucks carrying non-military supplies on board Vichy French merchant shipping to Tunisia, and thence via land routes to Lybia.
One of the first cargo ships so engaged was the SAINTE MARCELLE ex VIGOER, interned at Casablanca in June 1940, taken over by the Vichy government in August 1941 and brought to the Mediterranen in the follwing September. She was managed by Daher & Cie of Marseilles. She was however sunk by mistake by the Italian submarine MOCENIGO on 14 March 1942 off Cap Carbon in Algeria while en route from Marseilles to Tunisia, and this mistake was taken advantage of by the Vichy French authorities to discontinue the supply agreement after only 3,000 tons of foodstuffs and 78 trucks had been delivered to the Afrika Korps.