The Bertram Rickmers was a 4,188 GRT Cargo Ship built at Norddeutsche Werfte (Yard No. 192), Bremerhaven, Germany (now known as the Germania Shipbuilding and Engineering Company), for the Rickmers Linie, Hamburg, Germany.
The ship was launched 16 February 1923 and completed two months later on 14 May with a length of 112.1 meters, beam of 15.1 meters, with a single triple-expansion engine and single shaft for a maximum speed of 12 knots.
At the outbreak of WWII, ships of the Rickmers Linie which were in service between Europe and Asia were being confiscated by Allied Forces, or were being chartered out to Japan. The Bertram Rickmers was at Massawa, Eritrea, either trapped by the war, or assisting the Italian forces there. On 30 March 1941, the ship left Massawa and sailed for the Indian Ocean, attempting to bypass the British blockade of the port. TheBertram Rickmers was intercepted by the HMS Kandahar approximately 60 miles southwest of Massawa. The ship’s crew then intentionally scuttled the ship in order to prevent her from falling into British hands.
One source states that the ship was scuttled near Kordumu’it Island, Ethiopia, which is approximately 155 miles southwest of Massawa. Another source states that the ship was intercepted in the Straits of Perim, which is almost 300 miles southwest of Massawa.
Miramar Single Ship Report for 5606013
The World’s Merchant Fleets, 1939, (By Roger Jordan)