In 1929, HIKAWA MARU was completed for Nippon Yusen Kaisha Kisen (NYK) (Japan Mail Steamship Company), Tokyo. Her sister ships were HIE and HEIAN MARUs.
In 1941, all three were requisitioned by the IJN from NYK. HIKAWA MARU was ordered converted to to a hospital ship. HIE and HEIAN MARUs were converted to submarine depot ships. HIE MARU was torpedoed and sunk off Truk in November 1943. HEIAN MARU was sunk by TF 38 planes in the raid on Truk in February 1944.
HIKAWA MARU was the most active IJN hospital ship operating during the war. From 1945 to 1947 she was used as a transport for the Allied Repatration Service. Later, she operated as a freighter to the US East Coast until 1954. Thereafter, she re-commenced her original trans-Pacific passenger service until 1960. Today, she is a popular attraction as a restaurant at Yokohama.
|Builder:||HIKAWA MARU: Yokohama Dock Co. |
HEIAN MARU: Osaka Iron Works.
HIE MARU: Mitsubishi, Yokohama.
|Year Completed:|| All 1930|
|Dimensions:||Length 510', beam 66', draft 41'|
|Propulsion:||Burmeister & Wain diesel engines, 2 shafts, 11,000 bhp, 17 knots.|
(HIE and HEIAN MARUs only)
|Four 5.9-inch (150-mm) single mount guns, one 3.5 m range finder, two dual 13.2-mm machine guns. In 1943 changed to two 120-mm AA gun (10th Year Type), two Type 96 25-mm twin mounts and two Type 93 13.2-mm machine gun twin mounts.|