Freighter AOKI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett
Revision 1

E 1909:
West Hartlepool, England. Laid down by by William Gray & Co. Ltd., as a 3,772-ton cargo ship for La Tunisienne Steam Navigation Co. (F. C. Strick & Co. Ltd.) of Swansea.

10 June 1910:
Launched and named BOUKADRA.

July 1910:

Sold to the Dale Steamship Co. Ltd. of Glasgow, Scotland. Renamed YARROWDALE.

Sold to the San Peh S. N. Co., Ltd. of Shanghai, China. Renamed SUNG-SHAN.

Sold to the China Trade Development Navigation Co. Ltd. of Trieste, Italy. Renamed AMBA ALAGI (after the highest mountain in Italian East Africa).

Ownership transfers to Società Italiana di Navigazione – Shanghai (Chinese Italian Navigation Co. Ltd.) of Shanghai, China.

25 September 1940:
Chartered to the Japanese who transliterate her name as ANBARAGI.

December 1941:
Purchased by the Japanese Government and operated by Teikoku Sempaku K. K. Renamed AOKI MARU. Assigned call letters JWOQ.

1 February 1944:
At 1150, convoy MO-106 departs Shanghai consisting of AOKI, NARUO, UGA, MALAY, MUNETAKA MARUs and WAKAMATSU MARU No. 6 escorted by minesweeper W-15. During the night, strong winds scatter the convoy.

3 February 1944:
At 1715, the convoy anchors near Mokpo, SW Korea.

E 5 February 1944:
Sailing independently, AOKI MARU arrives at Sasebo.

10 October 1944:
At 0600, convoy MOMA-05 departs Moji for Manila consisting of AOKI, TAIHAKU, KOMEI, TENSHO, TAISHO, TATSUURA, TAIYO, ESAHI, DORYU, PACIFIC and SUGIYAMA MARUs and an unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan KASADO and subchasers CH-18, CH-17, CH-23 and CH-28. The convoy is carrying about 10,000 reinforcement troops for the Philippines.

16 October 1944:
At 1820 convoy MOMA-05 departs Imari Bay.

21 October 1944:
At 1600, arrives at Takao, Formosa. KASADO is detached.

23 October 1944:
At 0900, departs Takao. Shelters in a bay on S Formosa. Departs at 2300.

24 October 1944:
At 1830, arrives Sabtang Island anchorage.

25 October 1944:
At 0400, departs Sabtang.

26 October 1944:
At 0403, the convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Maurice Rindskopf's (USNA '38) USS DRUM (SS-228) at 19-30N, 120-44E. Rindskopf fires three torpedoes by radar bearings at TAISHO MARU. He gets two hits that break her in two and sink her. She takes down 1,557 Imperial Army troops, mostly from the 57th Independent Brigade and 10th Maritime Advance Battalion, and 45 crewmen.

At 0655, Rindskopf torpedoes and damages TAIHAKU MARU at 19-07N, 120-42E. The forepart sinks, but the aft part remains afloat. She is carrying 3,150 IJA troops of the 57th Independent Mixed Brigade, IJA 14th Sea Raiding Battalion and replacements en route to Luzon’s recently arrived 8th Railroad Regiment. She is also carrying150 horses, 35 boats and 60 military dogs. 1,557 soldiers and three crewmen are KIA. Most of troops on the stern part of the ship transfer to other ships in the convoy. Later, the aft part drifts away with 77 passengers and 33 crewmen still aboard.

DRUM also attacks TATSUURA and TAIYO MARUs with uncertain results. DRUM sustains DC damage during the day's attacks. [1]

At about 0710, LtCdr Richard W. Peterson's (USNA '31) USS ICEFISH (SS-367) torpedoes TAIYO MARU. A cargo of gasoline she is carrying for "kaiten" human-torpedoes ignites and sends flames hundreds of feet into the air. At 0730, TAIYO MARU sinks. 2,200 IJA troops and 33 crewmen are KIA.

28 October 1944:
At 1230, convoy MOMA-05 anchors in Lapoc Bay.

The aft part of TAIHAKU MARU is successfully towed by her own Daihatsu barges and beached in Lapoc Bay, Luzon where, on 9 Nov '44, it is wrecked by a Typhoon and abandoned.

29 October 1944:
At 0700, departs Lapoc Bay. At 1600, arrives at N San Fernando, Philippines.

30 October 1944:
At 0700, departs N San Fernando. At 1600, arrives at Santa Cruz.

31 October 1944:
At 0500, departs Santa Cruz. At 0950, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' (USNA '33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes KOMEI MARU. Hit in No. 3 hold, she sinks at 15-18N, 119-50E. 346 IJA troops, 10 crewmen and three gunners are KIA.

At 1010, Haskins also torpedoes PACIFIC MARU. She lowers her boats, but 24 troops and 50 crewmen are KIA. At about 1050, she sinks at at 15-15N, 119-56E.

1 November 1944:
At 0400, arrives at Manila.

14 November 1944:
Manila Bay. Rear Admiral (later Admiral) Frederick C. Sherman's (USNA '10) Task Force 38 carrier-based aircraft bomb and sink AOKI MARU at 14-35N, 120-55E.

Authors Notes:
[1] One report claimed AOKI MARU was lightly damaged in the 26 Oct '44 action, but this was probably in error.

Thanks go to Luca “Luke” Ruffato of Italy.

-Bob Hackett

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