(A Type 1TM Standard Tanker underway)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Bob Hackett

E 1943:
Osaka. Laid down at Hitachi Zosen K.K., as a 5,068-ton Standard Type 1TM tanker for Kyodo Kigyo, K.K., Tokyo.

Launched and named ICHIU MARU.

November 1943:
Completed and requisitioned by the Japanese Government's Senpaku Uneikai wartime civilian shipping authority. Chartered to the Imperial Army with a civilian crew.

1 December 1943:
ICHIU MARU departs Singapore in Part 1 of convoy HI-23 also consisting of tankers Part OMUROSAN and ASASHIO MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by destroyer NAMIKAZE. [1]

5 December 1943: The second echelon of convoy HI-23 departs Moji consisting of oilers TATEKAWA, ITSUKUSHIMA and BOKUEI MARUs with SUNOSAKI, OSE (ex-Dutch GENOTA) and probably TAKASAKI, all escorted by OSE.

7 December 1943:
ICHIU MARU departs Takao in convoy HI-23 now also consisting of tankers OMUROSAN, ITSUKUSHIMA, TATEKAWA, RYUEI, BOKUEI, fleet oilers TAKASAKI, SUNOSAKI and OSE and cargo passenger ships NOSHIRO and AKI MARUs plus GOYO and ICHIYO MARUs escorted by destroyer NAMIKAZE and kaibokan KANJU.

10 December 1943:
Arrives at St Jacques, Indochina where the convoy is disbanded.

December 1943:
Departs St Jacques. Arrives at Singapore.

December 1943:
Departs Singapore for Balikpapan.

30 December 1943:
S Java Sea, near Karimata Strait. At 1715 (H), LtCdr George E. Porterís (USNA '32) USS BLUEFISH (SS-222) sights a target ship in relatively shallow water (13 fathoms), making heavy black smoke and doing about 12 knots. Porter decides to wait for darkness and attack on the surface.

After surfacing at 1933, BLUEFISH pursues the target at full speed. At 2234, Porter fires five bow torpedoes by radar bearings. He gets five hits that turn ICHIU MARU into an inferno. She sinks with all hands at 02-45S,109-10E. Porter notes that the tanker probably was loaded with hi-octane (aviation) gasoline.

Authorís Notes:
[1] Oiler RYUEI MARU and passenger cargo ships AKI and NOSHIRO MARUs were also in the convoy, but which part is unclear.

[2] ICHIU MARUís wreck was found in 2005.

- Bob Hackett

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