Convoy QP 13 left Arkhangelsk on 26 June 1942 reinforced by a local escort of Soviet destroyers Gremyaschi, Grozni and Kuibyshev with British destroyer Tartar and minesweepers Bramble, Hazard, Leda and Seagull. The local escort was replaced on 29 June by an anti-aircraft escort of Hunt class destroyers Blankney, Middleton and Wheatland. On 30 June German air reconnaissance found convoy QP 13 180 miles (290 km) north of North Cape, Norway. U-88 was shadowing the convoy by 2 July; but Admiral NordmeerHubert Schmundt ordered German forces to ignore the empty westbound ships and focus on the loaded ships of eastbound convoy PQ 17. The Hunt-class destroyers detached on 4 July when convoy QP 13 was out of range of German bombers.
Convoy QP 13 encountered fog on 5 July 1942. In poor visibility Niger mistook an iceberg for Iceland’s North Western Cape and six merchant ships followed her into Northern Barrage minefield SN72 laid one month earlier at the entrance to the Denmark Strait. All seven ships detonated naval mines, and there were only eight survivors of the 127 men aboard Niger. Only Exterminator could be salvaged. No crewmen were lost from Exterminator, Hybert and Rodina; but one crewman died abandoning Hefron, five drowned when John Randolph broke in two, and Massmar sank with 17 merchant seamen, 5 Naval Armed Guards, and 26 survivors she was carrying from the sinking of Alamar in convoy PQ 16.
Surviving ships destined for Reykjavík were escorted into port on 7 July by a local escort of naval trawlersSaint Elstan and Lady Madeleine.