Ship Stats

Location: 35°32'38.76"N, 75°14'57.88"W (35.54410, -75.24941)

Depth: 130 feet

Vessel Type: Freighter

Length: 550.3 feet Breadth: 72.2 feet

Gross Tonnage: 8,215 Cargo: 23,000 tons of iron ore

Built: 1922, Bethlehem Ship Building Corp. Ltd., Sparrow's Point, Maryland, USA

Hull Number: 4212 Port of Registry: New York, New York, USA

Owner: Ore Steam Ship Corp., New York, New York, USA

Lloyd's Register Details: Steel hull, twin screw, longitudinal framing, fitted for oil fuel, two steam turbines

Former Names: N/A

Date Lost: February 27, 1942

Sunk By: U-432 Survivors: 39 of 39 survived (0 dead)

Data Collected on Site: Side scan sonar

Significance: Casualty of World War II's Battle of the Atlantic

Wreck Site

Today the massive ore carrier, Marore, lies in 130 feet of water north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Sonar imaging is consistent with the historical accounts from the survivors that the ship rolled over as it sank to the bottom. From amidships forward, the hull appears to be largely intact and inverted. Moving aft, the ship is heavily broken apart revealing large machinery near the stern, presumably the propulsion system.

sonar imageof <em>Marore</em>
High frequency sonar image of Marore wreck site. Click here for a larger image. Photo: NOAA

Historical Background

Built in 1922, Marore was a large bulk carrier operated by the Ore Steam Ship Corporation in New York, New York. When war was declared on December 8, 1941, Marore continued to operate along the East Coast, but was not outfitted with any protective measures.

In the evening on February 26, 1942, Marore was traveling alone and heading from Chile to Baltimore, Maryland, carrying a cargo of 23,000 tons of ore. Just after midnight, as the vessel approached Wimble Shoals just north of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the ship was struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat, U-432. The torpedo hit on the portside amidships resulting in a violent explosion, and the ship began to list immediately. Most of the crew was asleep in their bunks at the time of the explosion, but they knew within minutes after the attack that the ship would sink. As the crew scrambled to the lifeboats, U-432 began to shell the sinking ship to ensure that it sunk.

Despite the chaos, all 39 crew members made it safely away from the sinking freighter in three lifeboats. Two lifeboats were spotted and rescued by the passing tanker, John D. Gill, and were taken to Norfolk, Virginia. The third lifeboat was taken ashore by surfmen from the Coast Guard Station at Big Kinnakeet, North Carolina.

Marore in port
Marore in port, date and location unknown. Click here for a larger image. Photo: Courtesy of The Mariners' Museum