Atlas

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The Atlas was a 4,012 GRT tanker built in 1909 at Robert Craggs and Sons Limited, Middlesbrough, UK (Yard No. 229), as the DT Conrad Mohr for Chr. Michelsen A/S, Bergen, Norway. She was also the last ship built at Craggs and Sons before the shipyard was demolished. The ship was launched on the 04 April 1909 and completed the following July under Norwegian registry. She was 105.2 meters in length, 14.6 meters in beam, with coal fired boilers and a single-expansion engine and single propeller for propulsion.

From 1909 until around the end of 1910, the Conrad Mohr was the only Norwegian tanker to operate internationally.

An interesting incident is recorded where the Conrad Mohr was found to have been supplying Germany with supplies of copper during WW1. The New York Times reported on 15 July 1917 that the ship had been boarded and inspected by the US Navy off Sandy Hook, N.J., USA and found over 10,000 feet of copper cable hidden in the ship’s oil tanks during a later inspection pierside. The Captain, Einerson, and First Engineer, John Larson, were summarily arrested.

In 1930 she was sold to to L.N. Calligas, D.G. Calivopulos & J.A. Galani, Piraeus and renamed Irini where she provided service between the Black Sea and New Zealand on at least one occasion.

In 1933, the Irini was sold to S.A. Hellenique Maritime & Commerciale Transpetrol, Piraeus, where she operated under the name of Irini until she was renamed Atlas in 1935 and continued to operate for the same company.

On 06 September 1940, while in transit from Abadan to Suez, she was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Gugielmotti and “reported sunk” in deep water approximately 14 miles north of Jebel Tier, coast of Yemen, at 15.50N/41.50E. Reports indicate that the torpedo’s explosion broke the ship’s back and as she was sinking bow first, the ship broke in to two separate sections, with the after half of the ship remaining afloat.

However, this is not the end of the Atlas’ story…A naval salvor named Jim Devellyn directed a salvage operation to save the after section of the Atlas which resulted in the stern section of the ship being made watertight and then it was to be towed to Alexandria.

Two tugboats, the Hercules and Golliath, were used to tow the stern section north. When the tugboats and the remains of the Atlas reached Ras Banas the Atlas broke her tow in heavy weather and foundered within the Ras Banas headland in 4-6 meters of water.

The aft section of the ship was subsequently salvaged over the years and not much remains of the ship except a few small sections of hull plating, what appear to be catwalks, and other odds-and-ends of the ship’s lower deck areas.

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Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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