"The Shch-213 submarine... encountered on the morning of 24.2.1942 an unprotected enemy vessel Struma... The ship was successfully torpedoed from a distance of [1,118 meters] and sunk... Junior officers... Unit Commander and non-commissioned officers... and the Red Fleet sailor who fired the torpedo... have shown courage."
From that era of the Second World War several more "Hell Ship" disasters. So many of them!
1. SS Patria.
"The Patria disaster was the sinking on 25 November 1940 by the Haganah of a French-built ocean liner, the 11,885-ton SS Patria, in the port of Haifa, killing 267 people and injuring 172."
"At the time of the sinking, the Patria was carrying about 1,800 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe whom the British authorities were deporting from Mandatory Palestine to Mauritius because they lacked entry permits. Zionist organizations opposed the deportation, and the underground paramilitary Haganah group planted a bomb intended to disable the ship to prevent it from leaving Haifa."
"The Haganah claims to have miscalculated the effects of the explosion. The bomb blew the steel frame off one full side of the ship and the ship sank in less than 16 minutes, trapping hundreds in the hold."
2. MV Struma.
"The Struma disaster was the sinking on 24 February 1942 of a ship, MV Struma, that had been trying to take several hundred Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to Mandatory Palestine. She was a small iron-hulled ship of only 240 GRT that had been built in 1867 as a steam-powered schooner but had recently been re-engineered with an unreliable second-hand diesel engine . . . an estimated 781 refugees were crammed into her."
"Struma 's diesel engine failed several times between her departure from Constanţa on the Black Sea on 12 December 1941 and her arrival in Istanbul on 15 December . . . Turkish authorities towed Struma from Istanbul through the Bosphorus out to the coast of Şile in North Istanbul. Within hours, in the morning of 24 February, the Soviet submarine Shch-213 torpedoed her, killing an estimated 781 refugees plus 10 crew, making it the Black Sea's largest exclusively civilian naval disaster of World War II."
"A hell ship is a ship with extremely unpleasant living conditions or with a reputation for cruelty among the crew."
OH YES it is! And the combination of unpleasantness and cruelty making matters much worse. Those numbers of survivors as pulled from the water most of the time pathetically small. Rescue efforts often half-hearted or even nonexistent.