|Refugee Ship MV Goya|
Refugee Ship MV Goya
The German Kriegsmarine scraped up whatever ships they could and sought to evacuate civilians and wounded soldiers. MV Goya was one such refugee ship. On April 16 1945 she was part of a convoy sailing away from the Hel Peninsula and crossing the Baltic Sea on the way to Germany. Goya was overloaded with civilian refugees and wounded soldiers. Records show there were 6,100 passengers listed, but it is thought many more hundreds of people were crammed aboard, using every space available. As the convoy was moving out of Danziger Bay, they were tracked by a Soviet L-3 submarine. The captain, Konovalov, gave the order to fire on the Goya at 11:52 PM. As the ship sunk in the frigid waters, between 6,000-7,000 refugees drowned or died of hypothermia in the icy waters of the Baltic Sea. Over the next few weeks, thousands of bodies washed up on nearby shores. The sinking of the refugee ship MV Goya was one of the worst ship disasters of all time. With a death toll near 7,000, it is the second deadliest disaster in recorded maritime history. She now rests not far from the wreck of the Hospital Ship MV Wilhelm Gustloff. The captain of the submarine who triggered one of the greatest maritime disasters - Captain Vladimir Konstantinovich Konovalov was rewarded with the highest Soviet military decoration available. He was given the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Image: Public domain.
158 other merchant vessels were lost during the 15-week course of Operation Hannibal. Incidents like this are still relatively unknown to the world.