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  SS Bantam

3,322 Tons

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AWM March 28, 1943

Ship History
Built by N.V. Machinefabriek & Scheepswerf van P. Smit Jr. in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Launched during 1930. Owned by Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij (KPM) Royal Packet Navigation Company. Used as a cargo vessel in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) as a cargo vessel.

Wartime History
Requisitioned during World War II by the Allies, defensive machine guns and anti-aircraft guns were installed. Delivered supplies to Milne Bay, including a cargo of fuel drums during late July 1942. Participated in Operation Lilliput delivering supplies from Milne Bay to Oro Bay.

On March 28, 1943, nine D3A Val dive bombers attacked Oro Bay while SS Bantam was alongside the liberty ship wharf unloading supplies. Seven bombs fell on or near SS Bantam. The forward of the bridge, No.3 hold and engine room suffered direct bomb hits, while two bombs that hit the liberty wharf tore a hole in the ship’s side on the waterline and began taking water rapidly. The ship caught fire as well as the liberty wharf which was burning out of control. The two pontoons of the wharf sank.

The Bantam was sinking and it was decided to beach her and a couple of large motor boats assisted in pulling the ship away from the wharf. HMAS Bowen went alongside and began to fight the fires. SS Bantam was beached at the head of Oro Bay. Later, the shipwreck was raised and towed to Sydney.

Sinking History
On September 24, 1946 the ship was scuttled 36 miles off Sydney filled with chemical weapons.

This vessel is also officially referred to as MS Bantam or SS Bantham
Note, another Dutch vessel with the same name, MS Bantam (1939) also operated in Australia and New Guinea.

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Last Updated
August 18, 2018


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