This vessel was launched in February 1921 as the Eastney for the Romney Steamship Co Ltd of London, from the yard of the Northumberland Shipbuilding Company at Howden-on-Tyne (Yard No. 256). Built of steel, she weighed in at 5152 grt and had dimensions of 375.0′ x 51.2′ x 31.7′. She was powered by a single 370 nhp triple expansion steam engine.
She remained as the Eastney until she was first sold to Louis Dreyfus et Companie in Dunkirk in 1924 who named her L D Germaine. While operating for this owner, on 25th March 1929, she was in collision with the Alice Marie in the North Sea off Vlisnengen, Netherlands and had to be beached at Rammekens for repairs before returning to service. She was involved in a further collision with SS Southborough off Rotterdam on 3rd March 1931 but this time escaped relatively unscathed. While in Argentina she ran aground near Buenos Aires on 23rd March 1932 but again escaped with minimal damage. She was subsequently sold to Corrado Societe Anon di Navigazione of Genoa later in 1932 when she was again renamed, this time as SS Andrea. Finally, on 10th June 1940, she was seized by the Royal Navy when she docked at Newcastle and was immediately requisitioned for war service. She was renamed Empire Adventure and Walter Runciman and Co who were appointed as managers for the duration of the conflict.
Convoy OB216 left Liverpool on 19 September 1940 to begin its dangerous voyage through the North Channel and across the Atlantic to America. The Empire Adventure joined this convoy which was heading to Wabana, Newfoundland and then on to various North American ports to pick up much needed supplies for the British war effort. Captain Thomas O Phinn was at the helm of the Empire Adventure and he had a crew of 38 aboard.
Meanwhile Oberleutnant Wolfgang Luth had begun his patrol off the north west coast of Northern Ireland in U-138 and was lying in wait for any convoys heading his way. Late on the afternoon of 20th September he sighted the ships of convoy OB216 steaming directly towards him 50 miles west of Rathlin. He manoeuvred his submarine carefully and waited for the cover of darkness before he surfaced close to the approaching convoy and quickly fired three torpedoes between 21:20 hours and 21:26 hours before crash diving to avoid detection by the convoys escorting destroyers. Minutes later three huge explosions lit up the night sky as first the factory ship New Sevilla, then cargo ship Boka and finally the steamship City of Simla were hit and fatally wounded. The Boka sank quickly but both the New Sevilla and City of Simla were taken in tow in an attempt to save the ships. Unfortunately both were to sink closer to the Scottish coastline before they could reach safety. Luth had managed to sink three ships totalling close to 30,000 tons in a few minutes with an extremely skilful attack. Thirteen crewmen aboard the three ships had been killed in the attack but thankfully the majority of seamen were rescued by other ships in the convoy and made it to safety.
Despite the attentions of the escorting destroyers Luth did not flee the scene and returned for another attack. At 02.27 hours on 21st September, the Empire Adventure became the fourth victim when she too was hit by another torpedo from U-138. The master and 20 crew members were killed in the attack. The remaining 18 crew members were picked up by SS Industria and later landed at Belfast. Meanwhile the tug HMS Superman had taken the Empire Adventure in tow and headed for the Scottish coastline to try to save her. However, the following day (21st) while in sight of safety at Loch Ryan the Empire Adventure finally keeled over and sank.
The wreck of the Empire Adventure lies in position 55°11.167’N, 005°25.065’W (WGS84) and was positively identified in 2006 when divers recovered the bell inscribed Eastney 1921. She lies oriented 022/222°, with bow to north, and sits upright and intact with a 15 degree list to starboard in 68 metres of water with a least depth of 52 metres.