SHIP NOTES: (Sources: Jordan, Gentile)
Name: MANUELA Type: Freighter
Built: 1934 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA Owner: A.H. Bull Steamship Company, NY, NY
Home Port: New York, NY
Size (ft.): 411-0 x 55-4 x 24-6 Gross Tonnage: 4772 tons
Propulsion: Single screw twin oil fired steam turbine engine/speed 13 knts
Date Sunk: torpedoed 6/24; sunk 6/25/1942 Cause: Torpedoed by U-404
Location Cape Lookout, NC GPS: N34° 40.615'/W75° 47.135'

Torpedoed by U-404 (Gentile)
SHIP HISTORY: (Sources: Moore, Gentile)
The Manuela was traveling enoute from San Juan, Puerto Rico with over 100,000 bags of sugar. The freighter was fast enough (13 knt) to out run any submerged u-boat and was also carrying a deck gun and a trained crew of 6 Naval Armed Guard, but on 6/24, per operatinal orders, it was traveling with a slower convoy of 11 ships. As the convoy rounded Cape Lookout, it was spotted by the U-404. The u-boat set a group of torpedoes towards the approaching ships. The first "fish" struck the freighter Nordal which eventually sunk. Several minutes later (0727 EWT), the 2nd torpedo found starboard side of the Manuela collapsing the bulkhead between the boiler and engine rooms. Two crew members were killed in the explosion and the compartments quickly filled with water. The Manuela took on a definite starboard list and the captain ordered abandon ship. 23 crewman took to the #2 lifeboat and 17 others jumped overboard and climbed on to liferafts. The men in the lifeboat were towed by CG-408 to the armed trawler HMS Norwich City (FY-229) and taken to Morehead City, NC. The men on the life rafts were recovered by CG-483 and taken to Norfolk, VA. Although mortally wounded, the Manuela was quite ready to sink beneath the waves. Inspite of the damage and heavy starboard list, the freighter was still afloat the next day. Incredibly, when inspected on 6/25 by the CG-252, a surviving crewman was found still onboard. He was seriously injured with multiple fractures and in shock and was taken to Morehead City. The salvage tugboat, P.F. Martin, came along side the half-sunk Manuela and attached a tow line and attempted to drag the ship to shallow shoal waters for later recovery. The effort eventually failed and the Manuela sank beneath the waves.
In an interesting footnote, the final resting places of the Manuela and the deeper but nearby Malchace 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.
Manuela in peace and wartime colors - note gun platform on stern in lower photo

Diving Depths: 140-160 ft.
Visibility: Generally very good; range 50 to 100+ ft.
Current: Slight to strong
Summer Temperature: high 70s to mid 80s but can be subject to thermoclines on the bottom
Points of Interest: Largely intact bow, intact stern and midsections; propeller, port anchor, anchor windlass, large debris field
Fish/Animal Life: Usual array of NC marine life with an occasional sea turtle and large groupers
Description: The Manuela is one of the most visually spectacular wrecks off the NC coast. The depth has protected much of the large pieces of wreckage from the battering that can occur in shallower waters. The wreck is lying on it starboard side and is broken into three main sections which provide large junks of relief - the bow, large hull section amidships, and stern. These sections have small to large gaps bet ween them and are not in a straightline. The debris field is a large half circular area which lies inside of these intact sections. Even the flat hull and structural pieces have large dimensions to them making navigation on the wreck at this depth not something to be taken casually. When you get it on a day with low current and clear viz the wreck site is breathtaking.
The bow is intact, lying on its starboard side, approximately half of the bow buried in the sand. The anchor windlass and port side anchor are visible. The stern is also over on its starboard side with the rudder partially buried and a couple of propeller blades sticking up from the wreckage. In the middle sits what a large hull section, also lying on its starboard side, with a debris field spilling in front. The remains of the engine and condensers are evident at the stern end of this hull section. Between the stern and this section are the remains of the shaft alley. At the bow end of the middle hull section are large flat bulkheads and hull plates which eventually lead to the bow. The bow sits about 45-60 degrees to the line of the middle hull section.

Divers explore the stern section
The wreck pieces are large - ventilator shaft remains
Diver swims towards over a debris field amidships - middle hull in background
Diver inspects bow deck with port anchor below his fins
Group of divers make their way along the large middle hull section
Diver swims over the rudder/steerage assembly at the stern
Two blades of the propeller at stern
Remains of shaft alley coming out of stern
Wreckage atop the cabin area
Remains of crew cabin area
One of the engine condensers
Diver swims over collapsed hull plates
The deck of stern - collapsed on its starboard side
Curve of the bow & port side anchor
Same view as L, but from the deck side
Diver swims to the stern
Sea fans and soft corals on the end of the condensor

Unless specifically noted, all photos, text and content Copyright © 2006 by Paul M. Hudy

Bottom Navigation Barwhats new on the websiteHOMEBFDC Dive scheduleNC Motels and HotelsNC Shipwreckshome pagedive shopsMarine Weather, Forecast and Conditions