MV Nino Bixio

From Our Contribution

MV Nino Bixio
MV Nino Brixio.jpg
MV Nino Brixio 1.jpg
Name SS Nino Bixio
Owner Gruppo Garibaldi
Builder Giovanni Ansaldo & Coy, Genoa
Yard number 323
Launched 19 Oct 1940
Completed December 1941
In service 1941
Out of service 1971
Fate scrapped August 1971
General characteristics
Type Cargo ship
Tonnage 10,100 tons
Length 144 m (472 ft)
Beam 18.6 m (61 ft)
Propulsion single screw
Speed 15 knots (27.78 km/h)


Built for the Garibaldi Group. On 16 Aug 1942 the Nino Bixio and the Sestriere embarked thousands of allied POWs at Benghazi for Brindisi in Italy. The POWs were loaded alphabetically, with 3,200 whose names began with M-Z on the Nino Bixio, crowded into the ship's holds before sailing with an escort of two destroyers and two torpedo boats.

They were intercepted by British submarine HMS Turbulent which at 4:33pm on 17 Aug 1942 fired four torpedoes at the merchant ships. Three torpedoes hit the Nino Bixio with one exploding in No. 1 hold, one in the engine room, and the other disabling her rudder. Although she settled in the water, she remained afloat and was later towed to the Greek port of Pylos.

In the ensuing panic and confusion many men jumped overboard. Some drowned immediately; others reached makeshift rafts and drifted around the Mediterranean for weeks without food or water. Those on board who had survived the carnage were hauled up on deck by rope. The injured were treated by medical officers. 336 Allied POWs were killed, including 41 of the 163 Australians aboard, and many more were wounded. 116 of the 174 New Zealanders on board also died.

The ship was later towed to Venice where it was sunk as a block ship to protect the port, but after the war it was refloated and resumed its commercial life until it was scrapped at La Spezia in August 1971.

Soldiers carried as POWs

Benghazi, Libya to Brindisi, Italy 16 - 17 August 1942