(Freighter by Ueda Kihachiro)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2018 Bob Hackett

E 1941:
Kowloon, Hong Kong, British Crown Colony. Laid down at the Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd. shipyard, as Yard No. 836, a 4,644 ton freighter for the Indo-China Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

Launched and named HINSANG.


8 December 1941:
The Japanese open their offensive on Hong Kong by moving troops across the frontier of Hong Kong's New Territories and Army Ki-36 "Ida" attack Kai Tak airport on Kowloon. In the harbor, PanAm’s visiting Sikorsky S-42B flying boat "Hong Kong Clipper" is bombed, set afire and sinks.

25 December 1941:
HINSANG is scuttled off Hong Kong.

26 December 1941: The Fall of Hong Kong:
MajGen Christopher M. Maltby, British Indian Army, advises Hong Kong's Governor Sir Mark A. Young to surrender the outnumbered British garrison because of lack of food and water. At 1800, in Japanese headquarters set up in the fashionable Peninsula Hotel on Kowloon, Young surrenders the Crown Colony to LtGen Sakai Takashi, CG, 23rd Army. That night, nearly 6,500 British and Commonwealth troops go into Japanese captivity.

HINSANG is salvaged by the Japanese. Repaired and renamed KENSEI MARU.

E 1943:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a Haitosen, a shared employment Army/Civilian (A/C-AK) ship. Alloted IJA No. 5041.

7 August 1943:
KENSEI MARU departs Takao for Yulin, Hainan Island in convoy No. 314 also consisting of IJN transport KOTO MARU No. 2 GO civilian cargo FUKUJU MARU, IJA transports HAMBURG, LONDON and RYUYO MARUs and tankers KONSAN and NITTETSU MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

KOTO MARU No. 2 GO is detached from the convoy at an unknown date and place.

11 August 1943:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island.

7 September 1943:
At 1400, KENSEI MARU departs Saigon for Mako, Pescadore Islands in convoy No. 424 also consisting of ANKO, BELGIUM, CHINA, CHIYODA, FUKUJU, JINZAN, KAIKO, MIYO, TEIRYU (ex-German AUGSBURG) and TOSEI MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-2 and auxiliary gunboat HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARU.

14 September 1943:
At 0800, the convoy arrives at Mako less ANKO, KAIKO, TEIRYU and TOSEI MARUs detached earlier.

18 October 1943:
At 1420, KENSEI MARU departs Moji for Takao in convoy No. 107 also consisting of JINZAN, HOKOKU, KOHOKU, MANTAI, MURORAN, NITTATSU, NICHINAN, KOHOKU and SHOEI MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 3 and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and tanker SAN PEDRO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

24 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

3 January 1944:
KENSEI MARU departs Takao in convoy No.232 also consisting of AKAGISAN, DAIHO, GOZAN, HASSHU (ex MIJER), KINE, KOHO, SAN DIEGO, TAIKAI (3812 GRT) and YOZAN MARUs and three unidentified merchants escorted by kaibokan MIYAKE and TSUSHIMA.

10 January 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

1 March 1944:
At 1635, KENSEI MARU departs Moji in convoy MOTA-07 also consisting of transports TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA), HOKUROKU, SUGIYAMA and YAMAHAGI MARUs and tankers ATAGO, CHIYODA, KONSAN, RIKKO, NITTATSU and SARAWAK MARUs escorted by destroyer AMAGIRI and minesweeper W-30.

8 March 1944:
Off the coast of northern Formosa, TEIKA and YAMAHAGI MARUs are detached for Kirun (Keelung).

9 March 1944:
At 1440, arrives at Takao.

16 March 1944:
KENSEI MARU departs Takao in convoy TASA-10 also consisting of HIOKI, NISSHIN and YASUKUNI MARUs and HISHI MARU No. 3 and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

20 March 1944:
HIOKI and YASUKUNI MARUs are detached for Yulin.

21 March 1944:
Arrives at Camranh Bay.

22 March 1944:
Departs Camranh Bay.

23 March 1944:
At 1000 arrives at Cap St Jacques.

24 March 1944:
Departs St Jacques in convoy SASHI-13A also consisting of KENSEI MARU without escort.

27 March 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

4 May 1944:
At 1030, KENSEI MARU departs Miri, Borneo for Moji in convoy MI-02 also consisting of AKAGISAN, AWAJI, HAKUBASAN, KURENAI, MATSUMOTO, NISSHIN, NITTETSU, SANKO, SHINCHO, TACHIBANA, TAIHEI, TAIYU, TAKETSU (BUTSU) and TENSHIN MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 escorted by torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat No. 38.

6 May 1944:
SW of Balabac Island. At 0801, LtCdr (later Captain) Francis D. Walker Jr's (USNA ’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) fires torpedoes at the largest ship in the convoy, NISSHIN MARU. Three hit aft and at 0810, she sinks at 07-19N, 116-52E. 15 crewmen are KIA. The escorts counter-attack and drop 13 DCs, but without success.

7 May 1944:
At 2000, anchors Ulugan Bay, Palawan.

8 May 1944:
At 1130, departs Ulugan Bay.

10 May 1944:
At 1330, convoy MI-02 arrives at Manila. KENSEI, AKAGISAN, TAIHEI, TENSHIN, TAIYU and KURENAI MARUs are detached.

E 18 May 1944:
KENSEI MARU departs Keelung for Moji in convoy MI-02 also consisting of CHIKUZEN, CHOSAN, KAMO, NITTETSU, SANKO, SHINCHO, TACHIBANA and TAKETSU (BUTSU) MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 1 and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 escorted by destroyer HASU, kaibokan AWAJI, torpedo boat SAGI, patrol boat PB-38 and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

23 May 1944:
At 1700, convoy MI-02 arrives at Moji.

23 June 1944:
KENSEI MARU departs Moji in convoy MOMA-09/MI-09 also consisting of AMAHI, BINGO, CHILE, NORFOLK, KINRYO, KYOKUZAN, UGA, NATSUKAWA, SAIHO, SAINEI, SHIROUMA (HAKUBA), TATSUHARU, TEIKA (ex-Vichy French CAP VARELLA) MARUs and tankers CHIYODA, SHIMOTSU, SHUNTEN and YOKO MARUs, and KYOEI MARU No. 3 and six unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan CD-9, minesweeper NUWAJIMA, torpedo boats HATO and TOMOZURU and auxiliary gunboats KAZAN (HUASHAN) and PEKING MARUs,

28 June 1944:
AMAHI and TEIKA MARUs are detached and arrive at Kirun.

15 July 1944:
KENSEI MARU departs Miri in convoy MISHI-05 also consisting of KINRYO, NORFOLK and UGA MARUs and one unidentified merchant escorted by kaibokan CD-9 and torpedo boat HATO.

19 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

29 August 1944:
At 0830, KENSEI MARU departs Miri in convoy depart Miri escorting convoy MI-14 consisting of CHUKA, IIDA, JUZAN and SURAKARUTA MARUs and oilers ATAGO and TOKUWA MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan CD-14, patrol boat P-38 and subchaser CH-20.

5 September 1944:
Arrives at Manila. The convoy is reformed to consist of KENSEI, ENOSHIMA, MIHO, KEISHU and TOKUSHIMA MARUs and oilers ATAGO and TOKUWA MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2, with the same escorts.

9 September 1944:
At 1600, departs Manila. En route north the convoy is joined by minesweepers W-38 and W-39.

16 September 1944:
At 0440, departs Basco Bay, Batan Island, Philippines. At 1355, TOKUSHIMA MARU is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Glynn R. Donaho‘s (USNA ’27) USS PICUDA (SS-382) in the Bashi Channel at 21-57N, 121-35E. 82 passengers, one Communications Officer, 44 ship’s gunners and 52 crewmen are KIA. TOKUSHIMA MARU’s explosion damages nearby oiler OGURA MARU No. 2. She stops for repairs, but at 1515, is torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr Louis D. McGregor's USS REDFISH (SS-395) at 21-42N, 121-41E. In the course of these actions 23 passengers, three guards and 15 crewmen are KIA.

17 September 1944:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa. CH-20 is detached.

20 September 1944:
KENSEI MARU departs Takao in convoy MI-14 that now also consists of cargo ships BIYO, CHINKAI and ENOSHIMA MARUs and tanker ATAGO MARU escorted by kaibokan CD-14 and patrol boat P-38.

29 September 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

3 November 1944:
At 1000, KENSEI MARU departs Moji for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-25 also consisting of AKAGISAN, DAIA, HINAGA, KACHOSAN, KINSEN, NIKKO, NICHIYO, OJIKASAN and SHOEI MARUs and tankers ATAGO, DAIEI, DAITO, DAIRETSU, DAISHU, GYOSHIN, OTSUSAN, RYUSHO and YAMAMURA MARUs and YUZAN MARU No. 2 and two unidentified ships escorted by kaibokan CD-23, CD-33, CD-51, CD-52 and CD-130.

8 November 1944:
DAIA, KINSEN, NIKKO MARUs and NIKKO MARUs are detached for Kirun (Keelung), Formosa. AKAGISAN and NICHIYO MARUs, both destined for Manila, are also detached for Kirun. KACHOSAN MARU, destined for Hong Kong, is also detached for Kirun and Takao, as are two unidentified ships.

OJIKASAN MARU develops engine trouble and is detached for Mako. The convoy’s 13 remaining ships are diverted from Miri to Cap St. Jacques, Vichy French Indochina (Vietnam).

8 November 1944:
KACHOSAN, KINSEN and NIKKO MARUs and an unidentified ship are detached for Kirun. AKAGISAN and NICHIYO MARUs are detached for Takao.

13 November 1944:
In the evening, the convoy anchors in Xuan Dai Bay, Indochina at 13-22N, 109-17E.

14 November 1944:
At 0800, the convoy departs Xuan Dai Bay.

15 November 1944:
10 miles SW of Cape Paderan, Vichy French Indochina. At about 0100, LtCdr Albert S. Fuhrman's (USNA ’37) USS JACK (SS-259) torpedoes and sinks HINAGA MARU at 01-16N, 108-54E. 34 troops and one crewman are KIA. Fuhrman also torpedoes and damages YUZAN MARU No. 2. She is run aground and later becomes a total loss. Seven men are KIA.

16 November 1944:
Arrives at Cap St. Jacques. ATAGO and GYOSHIN MARUs and CD-33, CD-52 and CD-130 are detached. The rest of the convoy is ordered to divert to Singapore.

18 November 1944:
Departs St Jacques.

22 November 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

11 January 1945:
At 1100, KENSEI MARU departs Cape St Jacques in convoy SATA-05 also consisting of TOYU MARUs, Landing Ship Transport T-149 and tankers AYAYUKI, EIHO and KOSHIN MARUs escorted by kaibokan CD-35 and CD-43, patrol boat No. 103, minesweeper W-101 and subchaser CH-31. In the evening, because of heavy seas T-149 is detached and returns to Cape St Jacques.

12 January 1945: Operation "Gratitude" - Task Force 38 strikes on Indochina:
Vice Admiral (Admiral posthumously) John S. McCain, Jr's Task Force 38 launches almost 1.500 sorties looking for the Japanese fleet. TF 38 bombs SE Indochina, Hong Kong and Southern Formosa.

Off Cape Paderan, TF 38’s planes find and attack SATA-05 and sink KENSEI MARU and the entire convoy.

-Bob Hackett

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