(2TM SOEI MARU postwar )

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011-2017 Bob Hackett

E 1943:
Osaka. Laid down at Hitachi Zosen K. K., Sakurajima, as a 2,858-ton Type 2TM Standard Merchant Tanker for Nitto Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

Launched and named BAIEI MARU.

March 1944:

3 June 1944:
At 0415, departs Imari Bay in convoy MI-05 also consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO and tankers TACHIBANA, AYANAMI, SAN DIEGO, NITTETSU, TOA, YAMASACHI (a converted type K ore carrier), AYAGIRI, KENZUI, , OEI, TOKUWA, MARIFU and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and cargo/transports KENEI, HINAGA, NIPPO (ex-Chinese NINGPO), FUYUKAWA, SURAKARUTA, TATSUJU and SHOEI MARUs and probably TAKETSU MARU (another converted type K ore carrier) and thirteen unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan CD-14, CD-18, torpedo boat SAGI, patrol boat PB-38, minesweeper W-17, auxiliary subchaser CHa-22 and two unidentified warships.

8 June 1944:
Arrives at Keelung.

9 June 1944:
Departs Keelung.

11 June 1944:
Cargo ships/transports ARIMASAN, MANILA, MIIKESAN and USSURI MARU and tankers SAN DIEGO and KYOEI MARU No. 8 and JINEI Maru join the convoy from Takao together with minelayer MAESHIMA and auxiliary subchaser CHa-95. TOA and SHOEI MARUs are detached.

13 June 1944:
LtCdr John D. Crowley's USS FLIER (SS-250) torpedoes and damages MARIFU MARU at 15-57N 119-42E. MARIFU MARU is taken in tow by MIIKESAN MARU and later arrives at Manila. MARIFU MARU is detached from the convoy and later towed to Cavite.

15 June 1944:
The convoy arrives at Manila.

18 June 1944:
Departs Manila for Miri, W Borneo in convoy MI-05 also consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO, tankers TACHIBANA, SAN DIEGO, JINEI, KENZUI, ATAGO, AYANAMI, CERAM, OEI and TOKUWA MARUs, YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2, and KYOEI MARU No. 8 and cargo/transports ARIMASAN, HINAGA, NIPPO (ex-Chinese NINGPO), TATSUJU, SURAKARUTA, TEIFU (ex-French BOUGAINVILLE), ROKKO, DAIZEN, MIIKESAN, NICHIYO, HIDA and SEIWA MARUs with the same escorts.

23 June 1944:
At 1257, arrives at Miri. Probably loads fuel.

25 June 1944:
At 1915, BAIEI MARU departs Miri for Singapore in convoy MISHI-03 consisting of fleet oiler NOTORO and SAN DIEGO, JINEI, NICHIYO, HIDA, FUYUKAWA, AYANAMI, KYOEI No. 8, NIPPO, DAIZEN, TEIFU (ex-BOUGAINVILLE), SEIWA, SURAKARTA, HINAGA, MANILA, ARIMASAN, ROKKO, TATSUTAMA (ex-American SS Admiral Y. S. WILLIAMS), TOA and KENZUI MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-18, torpedo boat SAGI, subchaser CH-21, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary minesweepers CHOUN MARU No. 6 and TOSHI MARU No. 2.

28 June 1944:
South China Sea, off Singapore. At 2100, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker’s USS FLASHER’s (SS-249) radar picks up the convoy. Whitaker, operating in relatively shallow water (150 feet), decides to wait until after the moon sets to make a surface attack on the convoy’s two largest ships.

29 June 1944:
At 0111, Whitaker torpedoes freighter NIPPO MARU. Then he torpedoes NOTORO. At 0117, two or three torpedoes hit NIPPO MARU and two or three torpedoes hit NOTORO. NIPPO MARU breaks in two and sinks by the bow. She was carrying 598 troops and 30 passengers. 74 troops, 10 crewmen and 2 passengers are KIA.

NOTORO remains afloat, but goes dead in the water. The escorts begin blindly dropping depth charges. Whitaker, still on the surface, leaves the area on four engines.

30 June 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

28 October 1944:
Brunei Bay. At 0730, BAIEI MARU strikes a Japanese mine. Three crewmen are KIA in the explosion. At 2255 that day, she sinks at 05-07N, 115-10E.

June 2008:
Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) survey vessel MV KAJIB does a high resolution multibeam bathymetric survey of the deep trench off Brunei Bay to investigate itsgeomorphology. KAJIB finds a wrecked ship on the scanned images. The hulk lies upside down in about 50m of water and is probably that of BAIEI MARU.

- Bob Hackett

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