In December 1941 The Struma an over 100 year old cattle boat left the Romanian port of Constanza with 769 Jews on board, 669 more than its normal complement. It  contained only one toilet, no washing facilities and had grossly inadequate sleeping quarters.

Passenger wishing to breathe fresh air had to wait their turn to stand on the packed upper deck. Worst of all, no provision was made for life preservers or for any other means of rescue. By mid-December, the Struma had reached Istanbul, where it was held up for repairs. It had a leaking hull and defective engines.

Since the passengers lacked appropriate documentation, the British indicated that none of them would be permitted to enter Palestine. The Turks, for their part, similarly held them at bay.

For weeks on end, the Zionists conducted frantic negotiations to persuade High Commissioner of Palestine Sir Harold Mac Michael to relent. They begged him to permit the passengers to land in Haifa, either under the various immigration categories or as war refugees.  High Commissioner of Palestine McMichael was informed that the U.S. (Jewish) Joint Distribution Committee stood ready to finance the absorption of all concerned. At the eleventh hour, the high commissioner condescended to make an exception for the children but by then the Turks had ordered the ship back to the Black sea.   ON FEBRUARY 24TH, 1942, ONLY FOUR OR FIVE MILES FROM THE ENTRANCE TO THE BOSPORUS, THE STRUMA, WHICH EITHER HIT A MINE OR WAS ATTACKED BY A TORPEDO, BLEW UP AND SANK.  ALL BUT ONE PASSENGER PERISHED.

Source: The Hope Fulfilled The Rise of Modern Israel By Leslie Stein Printed by Praeger March 2003 page (228)