SHIP NOTES: (Sources: Jordan, Gentile)
Name: MALCHACE Type: Freighter
Built: 1920 by Merrill-Stevens Shipbuilding Corporation, Jacksonville, FL Owner: C.D. Malloray & Co, Inc., New York, New York
Home Port: Wilmington, DE
Size (ft.): 333-8 x 48-0 x 23-0 Gross Tonnage: 5800 tons
Propulsion: Single screw oil fired steam turbine engine/speed 10 knts
Date Sunk: 4/9/1942 Cause: Torpedoed by U-160
Location Cape Lookout, NC GPS: N/A

Malchace early in 1942 (Gentile, National Archives)
SHIP HISTORY: (Sources: Moore, Gentile, 10)
The Malchace was traveling alone and unarmed from Baton Rouge, LA to Hopewell, NJ with 3628 tons of soda ash. On April 8, the freighter made a brief stop in Fernandina, FL to unload deck cargo. At 0158 on the morning of April 9, a torpedo from the U-160 struck the Malchace on the port side just forward of #4 hold. The captain stopped the engines. The u-boat surfaced and circled the ship before sending second torpedo into the port side just aft of #3 hold at 0221. The explosion blew a hole in the bulkhead and the engine room was flooded. The captain ordered abandon ship after the 2nd torpedo hit and all but 1 of his crew of 29 made it safely to lifeboats. The Malchace sank at 0345. As they were rowing towards shore in the still dark morning, they witnessed the explosion and resulting fire from the sinking tanker Atlas. The lifeboats were spotted at 0830 by the passing Mexican tanker Faja de Oro and the Malchace survivors were picked up. They were later transferred to a guard vessel at Cape Henry, VA and taken to Norfolk, Va.
The Faja de Oro was originally an Italian tanker named Genoano. It was seized by the Mexican government in Tampico, Mexico one day after Pearl Harbor (December 7, 1941) and renamed the Faja de Oro. A little more than a month (May 21) after picking up the Malchace survivors, the Faja de Oro was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico by the U-160, an attack which killed 10 men and forced the Mexican Government to declare war on the Axis powers on May 22, 1942.
In an interesting footnote, the final resting places of the Malchace and the shallower but nearby Manuela were switched (it was thought that the Manuela was the deeper site) until Gary Gentile recovered the bell of the Manuela at the location we know today.
Malchace (Gentile)
Malchace (Moore)

Diving Depths: 185-200 ft.
Visibility: Generally 60 feet or better
Current: Slight to reportedly undiveable
Summer Temperature: mid to high 70s
Points of Interest: Anchors, large boilers, remains of railroad tanker cars and four bladed propeller
Fish/Animal Life: Large grouper, red snapper and occasional sandtiger
Description: This is a deep one and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. The wreck is lying on its extreme port side and is almost upside down. The hull is basically intact or flattening, but it is contiguous and th us should be easy to navigate, but at this depth all bets are off. The boilers are huge (everything looks huge at 200 feet) and are spilled out on the port side of the wreck. The stern is the highest part of the wreck. If you get there and face with your back to the bow, look to your left out in the sand. Yes, just sitting there is the large four bladed prop. My theory ("guess") on the prop and its position is that this not a spare propellor blade, but was knocked from the propeller shaft when the ship sank as ship first dragged bottom, stern first. A photo (below) from above the propeller shows that one of the blades is bent slightly while the shaft on the wreck is sheared off and empty. Perhaps it was a spare that was lashed to the deck and fell off, but I have not heard of any sightings of other propellers at the stern of the wreck.
Again, this is a very deep wreck and beyond all limits of sport diving.

Looking back down the hull from the stern
Diver swims over on the large boilers
Divers make their way to the anchor line, past one of the boilers
Closeup of boiler sitting on end
Propeller sitting off the wreck in the sand.
Notice bent blade in lower photo at 12 o'clock position
Stern post/propeller shaft and no prop!
Bow anchor

Unless specifically noted, all photos, text and content Copyright © 2005 by Paul M. Hudy

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