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Just as Captain Bart Manson is about to let the crew of his tanker, the Calhoun , go on leave in Tampico, Mexico, they receive a radio distress call from the freighter Ruth McIntyre , which has been torpedoed by a German U-boat. The tanker rushes to the sinking freighter and numerous passengers are rescued, including the lovely Katherine Hall. Bart is immediately attracted to Kathie, an American showgirl who has traveled from Paris and Lisbon to Havana while trying to return to the United States. Kathie is also interested in Bart, whose compassionate nature is revealed when he must tell a rescued passenger that her husband died during the attack. When the Calhoun reaches Tampico, however, complications arise for Kathie because she is not listed in the McIntyre 's log. Kathie, who stowed away on the freighter, has no passport or identification, and is about to be interned until her citizenship can be verified, when Bart posts bond for her. Kathie is remanded to Bart's custody and the couple go out for a night on the town. The evening is marred only by the aspersions of Bart's best friend and first mate, Fred Adamson, who thinks that Bart is a sucker for sponsoring Kathie. Bart, whose loneliness has become an unbearable weight, nevertheless proposes to Kathie when they happen to see a wedding party. The next morning, the couple realize that their marriage was prompted by Bart's drunkenness, but Kathie vows to make him happy anyway. Soon after, Bart and Kathie are hosting a reception at their new home when Bart and Fred quarrel over Fred's insulting remarks about Kathie. Later, Bart receives orders to ship out, and although he tries to leave without alerting Kathie, as no civilians are supposed to know the tanker's sailing schedule, she comes to the dock to bid him farewell. Once they are at sea, Bart and Fred work together grudgingly, but their quarrel is forgetten when a U-boat is sighted. Bart's plan to outrun the enemy vessel is thwarted when Fred, who wants to surrender their oil cargo to save the crew's lives, stops the engine. The tanker is torpedoed and many of the crew, including Fred, are lost. When the devastated Bart returns to Tampico, the investigating officers reveal their suspicions that Kathie was the spy who alerted the Germans about the tanker's sailing. Bart still loves Kathie too much to turn her over to the authorities, and so orders her to leave their home and never return. Kathie tells Bart that he is a fool, and later, after he has lost his captaincy papers, Bart goes on a drunken spree with the mysterious Dolores Garcia, who had previously been dating Fred. Bart's former shipmates refuse to speak to him as he loudly badmouths the United States, but his sentiments win him an introduction to Kruger, the leader of an Axis spy network working out of Tampico. Kruger asks Bart to find out the cargos and courses of the twenty tankers leaving that night, and Bart, who knows that a woman agent with the initial "K" works for Kruger, asks for a woman's help. Fearing that the agent will be Kathie, Bart is relieved when he is introduced to Karla, although he quickly dismisses her before meeting with Dolores and Valdez, an officer from his tanker. Dolores and Valdez are actually government agents working undercover to ferret out the spies, and Bart, attempting to clear Kathie, is working with them. Bart returns to Kruger's office, but his real alliances are revealed by Karla, who had followed him to his meeting with Valdez and Dolores. After Bart fires a warning shot, the government agents round up the gang. Bart then follows the messenger taking the sailing information to a radio operator, who turns out to be Fred. Bart is astonished to see his friend alive, and then outraged when Fred reveals that he is the spy who has been helping the Germans sink American ships. Fred begs for leniency, but Bart is forced to shoot him when he reaches for his pistol. Later, Bart finds Kathie, whose citizenship has been established, as she is packing to leave for the States. Bart apologizes to Kathie for not trusting her, and the couple reconcile.