SS Dumaru

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S.S. Dumaru
S.S. Dumaru in the Willamette River, Portland, Oregon. April 17, 1918.
Name: S. S. Dumaru
Owner: United States Shipping Board
Builder: Grant Smith-Porter Ship Co.
Laid down: November 17, 1917
Launched: April 17, 1918
Struck: October 16, 1918
Fate: Exploded and sank off Guam after being struck by lightning.
General characteristics
Type: Hough
Length: 268 Feet

The Dumaru was a Hough-type wooden steam ship launched on April 17, 1918, in Portland, Oregon, as part of the United States Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation. On October 16, 1918, during her maiden voyage, the Dumaru was struck by lightning off the coast of Guam, igniting her munitions cargo and destroying the ship.

All hands were able to evacuate into two lifeboats and one raft prior to the Dumaru´s destruction, with the raft and its five passengers, including Captain Ole Berrensen, being rescued nine days later near the site of the wreck. The two lifeboats, one under-manned with only 9 of its 20 seats filled and the other severely overcrowded with 32 crewmen aboard, drifted for approximately 3 weeks across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippine Islands. The latter boat quickly exhausted its fresh water supply, forcing the crew to construct a crude water desalination device and eventually resort to cannibalism, consuming the bodies of other crewmen who had died of exposure.


Thomas, Lowell (1930). The Wreck of the Dumaru. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. 

Holbrook, Stewart B. (June 11, 1933). "When the Jinx Cruised With the Dumaru". Sunday Oregonian. pp. Magazine Section. 

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