(Oiler by Takeshi Yuki scanned from "Color Paintings
of Japanese Warships")
CHIHAYA MARU: Tabular Record of Movement
© 2008-2017 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
7 January 1943:
Nagasaki. Laid down at Mitsubishi's Shipyard as a B type wartime standard cargo ship, but completed as a 4,701-ton merchant tanker for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) K. K., Tokyo.
22 April 1943:
Launched and named CHIHAYA MARU.
29 May 1943:
E June 1943:
CHIHAYA MARU is placed under the Senpaku Uneikai (Civilian Administration) and allotted to the Army with No. 5054.
At 0650, CHIHAYA MARU departs Sasebo in convoy No. 166 consisting of
tankers TACHIBANA, KIYO, HAKKO, GOYO, CHIYODA and NICHIRIN MARUs and transports CEYLON, NORFOLK, SHOGEN, TAIAN and ISUZU MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36.
18 June 1943:
At 1000, TAIAN MARU is detached for Kirun (Keelung), Formosa.
20 June 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Takao, Formosa.
8 July 1943:
At 0840 arrives at Palembang.
3 August 1943:
At 2200 departs Palembang for Singapore.
8 August 1943:
Departs Singapore in convoy No.611 also consisting of PANAMA, ZUIYO, HEIWA, and CELEBES MARUs and one unidentified merchant ship without escort.
11 August 1943:
At 1000 arrives at St Jacques.
11 September 1943:
At 1700, CHIHAYA MARU departs Mutsure for Keelung, Formosa in convoy No. 195 consisting of KISO, KASHIMA, YAMATO, BATAVIA and YOSHU MARUs escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.
13 September 1943:
At 0206, LtCdr (later Rear-Admiral) Charles O. Triebel's (USNA ’29) USS SNOOK (SS-279) torpedoes and sinks YAMATO MARU at 30-18N, 123-03E with 916 passengers, 3340-tons of cargo and 3000-kgp of mail. Four crewmen and 29 passengers are KIA. SHIOKAZE drops 14 depth charges, but USS SNOOK evades.
17 September 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Keelung.
19 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.
21 September 1943:
At 0740, CHIHAYA MARU departs Mako, Pescadores for Cap St Jacques in unescorted convoy No. 324 consisting of YOSHU, BATAVIA and KASHIMA MARUs and KONAN MARU No. 5.
27 September 1943:
At 0652, an enemy submarine is discovered on the surface. KONAN MARU No. 5, acting as escort, opens fire forcing the submarine to submerge. At 0740, LtCdr (later Cdr) Thomas W. Hogan's (USNA ’31 USS BONEFISH (SS-223) torpedoes and sinks KASHIMA MARU at 31-35N, 127-47E with 1665 Army troops, 107 other passengers and 8353-m3 of military equipment. 139 troops/passengers and one crew are KIA.
28 September 1943:
Arrives at Cape St. Jacques, Indochina.
6 October 1943:
Departs St Jacques.
10 October 1943:
Arrives at Miri.
17 October 1943:
Departs Manila for Takao in convoy No. 871 with tanker NITTETSU MARU and one unidentified merchant ship escorted by torpedo boat HAYABUSA and auxiliary gunboat ROKKO MARU.
19 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao.
7 December 1943:
At noon, CHIHAYA MARU departs Cap St. Jacques for Takao in convoy No. 447 consisting of GINYO and TEIKO MARUs and tanker HOKUAN MARU escorted by kaikoban MATSUWA. 
10 December 1943:
At 2000, TEIKO MARU is detached from the convoy and sails for Manila.
16 December 1943:
50 km SW of Takao. At 0447, LtCdr (later Captain) Robert D. Risser's USNA ’34)
USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) torpedoes and sinks GINYO MARU at 22-14N, 120-06E with 195 passengers, 6800-tons of maize, 600-tons of rice and 50-tons of beans. 66 crewmen, three gunners and 118 passengers are KIA. The convoy steams on for Takao and arrives later that day. MATSUWA remains behind searching for the submarine. Later she is joined by kaikoban TSUSHIMA from Takao, but their combined search is unsuccessful and FLYING FISH slips away.
11 January 1944:
At 1500 departs Moji in convoy No.128 also consisting of KOTO MARU No.2 GO, KYODO MARU No.36, SAN LUIS, JUYO, SHIKISAN, YOSHU, BELGIUM, WAZAN and SEISHO MARUs escorted by the destroyers ASAKAZE and SHIOKAZE.
16 January 1944:
Arrives at Takao.
14 February 1944:
At 1500 arrives at Manila from Miri.
23 February 1944:
At 0600, CHIHAYA MARU departs Takao in convoy TAMO-05 consisting of CEYLON, NIPPO, SAN LUIS, FRANCE, PACIFIC, SHUNTEN, MUTSUYO (BOKUYO) and ASO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-38, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU, auxiliary subchaser TAMA MARU No. 7 and an unidentified warship. 
27 February 1944:
At 2058, LtCdr John A. Moore's (USNA ’32) USS GRAYBACK (SS-208) torpedoes and sinks CEYLON MARU at 31-35N, 127-47E with 4000-tons of bauxite, 300-tons of canned sugar and 200 military passengers. 95 troops and 46 crewmen are KIA. 
29 February 1944:
Arrives at Mutsure.
23 March 1944:
CHIHAYA MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy MOTA-13 consisting of tanker YOKO MARU and MATSUMOTO, HIGANE, BIZEN, SHOKA, SHINEI, PACIFIC, CHIHAYA, HENG SHAN (KOZAN), YOKO and YULIN MARUs and TOYO MARU No. 2 and YAMAMIZU MARU
No. 2 escorted by kaibokan KURAHASHI and subchaser CH-26.
30 March 1944:
Arrives at Takao.
14 April 1944:
Departs St Jacques in convoy SASHI-17 also consisting of TEIRITSU MARU (ex-French LECONTE DE LISLE), and tanker SHINEI MARU. The convoy sailed without surface escort and apparently temporarily anchors en route.
23 April 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.
7 May 1944:
At 1900, CHIHAYA MARU departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy SHIMI-02 consisting of tankers, EIYO, SHINEI and NICHINAN MARUs and cargo ships DURBAN, CHINA, FUKUJU and KUNIYAMA MARUs and tanker TONAN MARU No. 2 escorted by minesweeper W-18 and subchaser CH-19.
11 May 1944:
At 1545, arrives at Cape Kidurang.
12 May 1944:
At 1005, the convoy arrives at Miri.
24 May 1944:
Departs Manila in convoy MATA-20 also consisting of KUNIYAMA, FUKUJU, TAKETOYO, TENSHIN, CHINA, SHINEI, and EIYO MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD 11, destroyers HARUKAZE and ASAKAZE, and auxiliary gunboats CHOHAKUSAN and TOMITSU MARUs.
28 May 1944:
At 1900 arrives at Takao.
30 May 1944:
At 1300 departs Takao in convoy TAMO-20 also consisting of TAKETSU (BUTSU), DURBAN, TAKETOYO, FUKUJU, HORAI, KOSHIN, SHINEI, EIYO MARUs and fourteen unidentified merchant ships escorted by the destroyers ASAKAZE, HARUKAZE, kaibokan CD 2, gunboat ATAKA and auxiliary gunboat TOMITSU MARU.
5 June 1944:
The convoy arrives at Moji. SHINEI MARU had separated en route.
11 June 1944:
At 1530, CHIHAYA MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-08 consisting of MATSUURA, KAMO, SHINKOKU, NISHI, MINO, TAIKAI, KAKOGAWA, MYOGI, OYO (GYOKUYO) MARUs and tankers KOEI, TAIEI, SAN LUIS, RYUSHO and 12 unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyers ASAKAZE, ASAGAO, kaibokan YASHIRO, CD-2 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3. Immediately after leaving port, KOEI MARU develops engine problems and is forced to return to port.
15 June 1944:
At 1040, anchors at Oshima Strait, Amami Oshima.
16 June 1944 :
Departs Oshima Strait.
17 June 1944:
MATSUURA and KAMO MARUs are detached with destroyer ASAGAO and head for Kirun.
18 June 1944:
At 1300, arrives at Takao. Later, ASAGAO rejoins convoy. At 1955, the convoy departs Takao.
23 June 1944:
At 1800, arrives at Manila. CD-2 and ASAGAO are detached.
27 June 1944:
At 0600, departs Manila.
2 July 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Miri.
10 July 1944:
At 1550, CHIHAYA MARU departs Miri for Moji in convoy MI-08 consisting of MEXICO, ASAKA, OLYMPIA, RASHIN, HAKUROKU (HAKUSHIKA), TATSUBATO, KUROGANE MARUs and tankers SAN LUIS, SAN DIEGO, NITTETSU, OEI, TAKETSU (BUTSU), RYUSHO and SANKO
(YAMAKO) MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by torpedo-boat SAGI and minesweepers W-17, and W-18.
11 July 1944:
At 1830, the convoy anchors in Kimanis Bay, SW of Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.
12 July 1944:
At 1300, the convoy departs Kimanis Bay. At 1015, TAKETSU MARU detaches and begins a return journey to Miri.
16 July 1944 :
From 0820 until 1400, the convoy is accompanied by torpedo-boat HIYODORI and coast defense ship MIKURA. At 2035, the convoy arrives safely at Manila.
23 July 1944:
At 1545, CHIHAYA MARU departs Manila for Moji in convoy MI-08 consisting of MIZUHO, MANILA, ARABIA, TATSUBATO, HAKUROKU MARUs and tankers SAN LUIS, SAN DIEGO, NITTETSU, MIRI, RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) MARUs escorted by torpedo boat SAGI, kaibokan CD-1, CD-18 and CD-28, minesweeper W-17, minelayer ENOSHIMA and subchaser CH-61. The convoy speed is eight knots.
27 July 1944:
At 0920, auxiliary subchaser CHa-74 and auxiliary transport OYO MARU join the escort. At 1605, the convoy arrives at Takao and is again reorganized. CH-61 is detached.
30 July 1944:
At 1800, CHIHAYA MARU departs Takao in convoy MI-08 now consisting of ZUIHO, BOKO (ex-British SAGRES), MANILA, TSUYAMA, YAGI, TOUN, ARABIA and TATSUBATO MARUs and tankers SAN LUIS, SAN DIEGO, NITTETSU, MIRI, RYUSHO and SANKO (YAMAKO) and EIHO MARUs and cargo ships YAGI and TOUN MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-1 and CD-18, torpedo-boat SAGI, minesweeper W-17 and auxiliary netlayer KISHIN MARU. The convoy's speed is 7 knots.
1 August 1944:
At 1400, the convoy arrives at Keelung after it is suspected that enemy submarines had gained contact.
4 August 1944:
At 1600, the convoy departs Keelung and heads up the Ryukyu Islands bound for Kyushu.
9 August 1944:
N of Okinoshima. LtCdr (later Cdr) Robert A. Keating's (USNA '33)USS BARBEL (SS-316) torpedoes and sinks YAGI and BOKO MARUs at 27-56N, 128-47E 31 crewmen and three gunners are KIA on YAGI MARU with casualties unknown on BOKO MARU. CD-1 and W-17 carry out an antisubmarine sweep and drop 21 depth-charges that cause some damage to USS BARBEL. Afterwards, the convoy heads out of the area at full speed making evasive movements. At 1200, the convoy arrives at Koniya, Amami-O-shima.
11 August 1944:
At 0400, the convoy departs Amami-O-Shima.
13 August 1944:
Arrives at Moji.
9 September 1944 :
At 1200, CHIHAYA MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-19 consisting of tankers SAN DIEGO, IWAKUNI, DAIMEI, KENZUI and MITSU MARUs and cargo ships DAIBIN (OTOSHI), ENOURA, MATSUURA, YULIN, HAKUROKU, ARISAN, TEIFU, TASMANIA , SHINSEI, DAIA, NIKKO and SHUNSHO MARU escorted by torpedo boat SAGI, kaikoban ETOROFU, SHONAN, CD-6 and CD-16 and auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU.
10 September 1944 :
E of Quelpart Island. At 1212, LtCdr (later Cdr) Edward E. Shelby's (USNA '33) USS SUNFISH (SS-281) torpedoes and sinks CHIHAYA MARU at 33-49N, 127-41E with 413 troops, 6 daihatsu barges and 2 armored cars from the 2nd Company, 10th Tank Regiment aboard. Nine crewmen and 76 troops are KIA.. The convoy immediately retires to Chinto (Chin Hajo Island) where it regroups. The escorts launch a concerted, but unsuccessful attempt to find the submarine.
 No photos have been found of this ship or her sister, CHIYODA MARU, but a drawing shows they had engines amidships. The ships were built a standard 1B class cargo ships and converted while under construction.
 It is possible, although unlikely, that the CHIHAYA MARU in this convoy was the 18 1160 built refrigerated cargo ship of the same kanji. The latter vessel served mostly in the northern Japan/Kuriles/Sakhalin area.
 USS GRAYBACK is later sunk by Nakajima B5N2 "Kates" of the Okinawa Naval Air Group.
With thanks to Gilbert Casse of France.
Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.
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