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To Gabon on the "Ships starting with G" page.
Manager: A/S Rederiet Odfjell, Bergen
Built by Nya Varvs A/B Öresund, Landskrona, Sweden (30). Launched Jan. 24-1931, delivered in Apr.-1931 as Sunnanvik to Norrköpings Rederi A/B (Victor Schreil), Norrköping, Sweden. Sold in Oct.-1934 to Skibs-A/S Rose (Gustav B. Bull), Sandefjord and renamed Rose. Sold in 1936 to Cie. Generale de Navigation a Vapeur Cyprien Fabre, Le Havre, France and renamed Gabon. Sold that same year to Skibs A/S Gabon (A/S Rederiet Odfjell), Bergen, Norway. Sold again? in Sept.-1936 to D/S A/S Hassel (A/S Rederiet Odfjell), Bergen. (R. W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets" gives owner as Skibs-A/S Gabon during the war).
Captain: ? Nilsen.
(Received from Don Kindell - His source: The late Arnold Hague's database).
Follow the convoy links provided for more information on each.
Errors may exist, and some voyages are missing.
As can be seen when going to Page 1 of the archive documents, Gabon arrived Shanghai from Calcutta on Apr. 7-1940, and it looks like she was still there on Apr. 9, the day of the German invasion of Norway. Her next voyage took her to Hong Kong, then on to Saigon, Port Swettenham, Calcutta, Colombo and finally Table Bay. From there, she proceeded to Dakar on June 22 (it looks like her final destination at the time was New York).
Gabon was one of the 26 Norwegian ships interned in North and West Africa from the fall of France in the summer of 1940 until Operation Torch in Nov.-1942. My page Interned Ships has a list of all 26. According to the archive document mentioned above, she arrived Dakar from Table Bay on July 5-1940. "Nortraships flåte" by J. R. Hegland states that she was interned that same day.
R. W. Jordan's "The World's Merchant Fleets 1939" agrees with Hegland's internment date of July 5-1940, and adds that she sailed under the French flag until 1945, then Norwegian; this is incorrect - she was freed by the Allied invasion in Nov.-1942, and returned to Nortraship's register on March 3-1943.
A French visitor to my website has told me that according to his records Gabon was seized in Dakar (July-1940), and came under the French flag on Febr. 1-1941 without name change. Sailed from Dakar on Apr. 29-1941 in convoy. At Lomé early May-1941. From Lomé to Cotonou, date unknown. Sailed from Cotonou on June 11-1941 in convoy. At Dakar June 25. Sailed from Dakar in convoy on July 2-1941. At Casablanca July 12. Sailed from Casablanca July 13-1941 in convoy. At Oran July 16. Sailed from Oran in convoy on Sept. 5-1942. At Casablanca Sept. 8. Sailed from Casablanca Sept. 12 in convoy. At Dakar Sept. 21. Sailed from Dakar Oct. 22-1942 in convoy. At Cotonou early Nov.-1942. Sailed from Cotonou in convoy on Dec. 6-1942. At Dakar Dec. 25.
Guri Hjeltnes' "Sjømann - Lang vakt" says Gabon had a crew of 31, 25 Norwegian, 22 escaped (they were sent to Lisbon "by mistake" and thereby freed), 3 went home. She adds that after having been requisitioned in Dakar in Febr.-1941, the crew was sent to Casablanca where they joined the crew from M/T Jaspis (making it a total of 58), then they were all sent to Lisbon on board the Portuguese passenger ship Nyassa on March 26-1941 and accommodated in hotels there. By June, most of them had managed to reach the U.K., where some went to school, others joined the Marines, but the majority joined other allied ships.
Gabon is listed in Convoy SL 132/MKS 16* in June/July-1943, voyaging from Lagos to Mersey with a cargo of lumber, palm oil and general. Other Norwegian ships in this convoy were Audun, Mammy, Arosa, Dux and Kong Haakon VII. She's also listed in Convoy OS 60/KMS 34* in Nov.-1943, voyage from Milford to Takoradi via Freetown with coal in station 121 (see also Page 1). Hardanger, Kaldfonn, Norefjord and Norfalk are also named - see the external links provided in the Voyage Record above for further dates and convoy information.
In the spring of 1944, she can be found, together with Marga, in Convoy SL 151/MKS 42*, the SL portion of which having left Freetown on March 2, while the MKS portion left Gibraltar on March 13, the combined convoy arriving Liverpool on the 24th. The following month, she's listed in station 81 of Convoy OS 74/KMS 48*, voyage Liverpool-Takoradi/Lagos/Pt. Noire with general cargo (Norelg is also named). In July that year, we find her bound for Mersey in Convoy SL 165, which departed Freetown on July 20 and joined up with Convoy MKS 56* on the 30th, before continuing on to Liverpool as SL 165/MKS 56. Gabon had station 72 of the SL convoy, taking up station 54 in the combined convoy; her cargo is given as W.A. produce (the Norwegian Troubadour joined with the MKS portion). Again, direct links to these convoys have been provided in the table above. Gabon's voyages in this period are shown on Page 2. In Sept.-1944, Gabon sailed in Convoy OS 88/KMS 62*, voyage Milford-Freetown with coal in station 81 of the convoy, which departed Liverpool on Sept. 4. The OS convoy arrived Freetown on the 20th, the convoy having split up on Sept. 10.
According to the external website that I've linked to at the end of this page, she returned to the U.K. with Convoy SL 177/MKS 68*. The SL portion of this convoy, in which Gabon and the Norwegian Karmt are listed, departed Freetown on Nov. 15, joined up with the MKS portion from Gibraltar on the 26th, the combined convoy arriving Liverpool on Dec. 5. She was on a voyage from Matadi to Mersey, 7505 tons general cargo consisting of copper, palm kernels, palm oil, cotton, gum copal, rubber and sundries, and was also carrying 3 bags of mail. Please note, however, that there's some disagreement here; as can be seen in her Voyage Record, A. Hague has her (and Karmt) in the previous convoy, SL 176/MKS 67*. SL 176 left Freetown on Nov. 7 and joined up with the MKS convoy on Nov. 18, arriving Liverpool on Nov. 24, and this, in fact, fits better with the details found on Page 2 of the archive documents. The following month, she joined Convoy OS 100/KMS 74*, voyage Liverpool-Takoradi/Lagos/Port Harcourt with general cargo in station 73 of the convoy (departed Liverpool on Dec. 23). Further dates and info are available via the link in the Voyage Record.
A. Hague has also included Gabon in Convoy MKS 90*. She had sailed from Casablanca on March 21-1945 and arrived Liverpool on the 28th. The following month, he has her in Convoy OS 125/KMS 100*, joining from Belfast Lough. This convoy started out in Liverpool on Apr. 27 and dispersed May 1, Gabon arriving Freetown on May 11. Brønnøy is also listed - again, ref. links in the Voyage Record for more convoy information.
From Page 3, we learn that she went home to Norway in Dec.-1945.
Renamed Older in 1946? (same manager). Sold in Nov.-1952 to Sigbjørn Birkelands Rederi A/S, Bergen and renamed Ole Bratt. From 1961 she sailed as Sassandra River for Cia. Nav. Y Financiera del Sur, Beirut, Lebanon. In Febr.-1965 she was on a voyage Marseille - West Africa, arrived Las Palmas with engine failure. After temporary repairs she went to La Spezia where she arrived Apr. 16-1965. Sold that summer for scrapping and was probably broken up at La Spezia.
Related external links:
Odfjell ASA today - with fleet lists.
Back to Gabon on the "Ships starting with G" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: Sources mentioned within above text, and misc. (ref. My sources). Also, some pre war and post war info was received from Rolf Skiold, who runs this website