Goya (ship, 1940)

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The Goya before delivery to the Akers shipyard
The Goya before delivery to the Akers shipyard
Ship data
flag NorwayNorway Norway German Empire
German EmpireGerman Empire (trade flag) 
Ship type Cargo ship
Shipyard Akers mekaniske Verksted , Oslo
Commissioning April 4, 1940
Whereabouts sunk on April 16, 1945
Ship dimensions and crew
146 m ( Lüa )
width 17.4 m
displacement 7200  t
measurement 5,230 GRT
Machine system
7,600 hp (5,590 kW)
18 kn (33 km / h)

The Goya was a cargo ship of the shipping company " A / S J. Ludwig Mowinckels Rederi " in Bergen (Norway) . The in Oslo at the shipyard " Akers Mekaniske verksted built" ship was after the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya named and entered service on April 4, 1940th

The ship, loaded with thousands of refugees, was sunk by a Soviet submarine on April 16, 1945. The sinking of the Goya is considered to be one of the greatest maritime disasters . At the beginning of 1945 more than 20,000 people died in the Baltic Sea when the Goya , Wilhelm Gustloff , Cap Arcona , Steuben and some smaller ships went down.


After the German occupation of Norway ( Operation Weser Exercise ) in April 1940, the Goya was confiscated by the Navy . After serving first as a troop transport and then as a target ship with the 24th U-Flotilla , a submarine training unit stationed in Memel , it was used in the last months of the war for the evacuation of the German eastern provinces . In February 1945 the ship, which had previously been driven unarmed, received modest anti-aircraft armament and a small military crew to operate it. After the ship had already evacuated 19,785 people to the west on four trips, it was sunk on April 16, 1945 by the Soviet submarine L-3 on its fifth trip . Over 7,000 people were killed.

Last order

The ship was supposed to evacuate wounded soldiers, fleeing civilians and 200 members of the 35th Panzer Regiment from West Prussia in April 1945. The exact number of passengers on this trip is not known. The responsible paymaster counted over 7,000 people on the stairway alone. During the loading, the port of the Hela peninsula at the exit of the Gdańsk Bay was under constant fire. At around 8:30 a.m., the Goya was hit by an aerial bomb in the front third. The bomb tore a hole in the upper deck and destroyed the MES ( mine own protection ) system.

At around 7 p.m. the convoy set off in front of Hela. It consisted of the Goya , the steamer Kronenfels (built in 1944, 2,834 BRT) and the water tanker Aegir (built in 1942, 676 BRT). The three ships were secured by the minesweepers M 256 and M 328 . The speed of the convoy had to be based on the slowest ship, the Kronenfels with its only around 9  knots . The ships had set off in the direction of Swinoujscie , completely darkened . At around 11 p.m. the convoy was ordered to go to Copenhagen . However, due to a machine failure in the Kronenfels , the convoy had to stop for about 20 minutes. Immediately after repairs and resumption of voyage, the Goya was attacked .


At 11:52 p.m., the Soviet submarine L-3 under Lieutenant Captain Vladimir Konovalov fired four torpedoes on the Goya , two of which hit. The first hit caused the keel to break in the area of ​​the fore ship; the second hit amidships. The Goya , which, as a freighter, had no structural safety measures, as were customary for warships, sank within just seven minutes in the three-degree cold Baltic Sea.

After the convoy left the danger zone, the escort ships returned and looked for survivors. However, only 183 castaways could be rescued from the ice-cold water. According to the escort ship M 328 , a total of 157 people were rescued, nine of whom died on board the ships of hypothermia. During April 17th, another 28 castaways were rescued from other ships. This would bring the total number of those rescued to 176. The exact number of victims can no longer be determined due to the imprecise passenger numbers.


Although Konovalov received the highest award in the country, the Order of " Hero of the Soviet Union ", for sinking the Goya , the sinking was long contested by the Soviet Union itself.

On August 26, 2002, the Goya was discovered and dived by Polish TDI divers Grzegorz "Banan" Dominik and Michal Porada at a depth of 76 meters; they hid the ship's compass.


  • Fritz Brustat-Naval: Rescue company . Koehler, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-7822-0829-3 .
  • Ernst Fredmann: They came across the sea - the greatest rescue operation in history . Pfälzische Verlagsges., ISBN 3-88527-040-4 .
  • Heinz Schön : Baltic Sea '45 . Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-87943-856-0 .
  • Heinz Schön: Freighter "Goya". One of the many Baltic tragedies in 1945 . In: Series SMS - Ships, People, Fates . Rudolf Stade Publishing House, Kiel 2005.
  • Kurt Gerdau: Rescue by Sea . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford 1985, ISBN 3-7822-0354-2 .

Web links

Commons : Goya (Schiff, 1940)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. ^ Documents from the Mowinckel shipping company, Norwegian State Archives
  2. ^ Statement by the paymaster Heinz Hoppe, documentary Flucht in den Tod , 1993
  3. Brustat-Naval: Enterprise Rescue , p. 146.
  4. Baltic Sea Archive Heinz Schön , Bad Salzuflen
  5. The German diver Ulrich Restemeyer is often cited as the discoverer who dived the Goya in 2003.

Coordinates: 55 ° 12 ′ 0 ″  N , 18 ° 18 ′ 0 ″  E