(HIOKI MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013 Bob Hackett

9 July 1943:
Tsurumi. Laid down at Nippon Kokan K. K. as a 5,396-ton Type 1K Standard Merchant ore carrier for Osaka Shosen K. K. (OSK), Osaka.

Launched and named KOKUSEI MARU.

January 1944:

6 March 1944:
KOKUSEI MARU departs Singapore, Malaya as a “Hell Ship” carrying 456 POW's to Japan for use as forced labor.

21 June 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

26 July 1944: At 0600, KOKUSEI MARU departs Imari Bay in convoy MI-13 also consisting of cargo ships HIGANE, HIYORI, DURBAN, KIZAN, KUNIYAMA, URAL, SHIROTAE, CHINA, MATSUURA, RISSHUN and ATLAS MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 and tankers SHINCHO, TEIKON, TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA, CD-14, patrol boat PB-38, minesweeper W-18, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU and auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs.

31 July 1944:
The convoy arrives at Takao. SHIROTAE, CHINA and MATSUURA MARUs are detached and tankers SHIMPO and ZUIYO MARUs and cargo ship SHINKO MARU join the convoy. TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and CHOHAKUSAN MARU are detached from the escort and replaced by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan KUSAGAKI and YASHIRO. Naval Transport T. 3 also joins.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, the reconstituted convoy departs Takao.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskins' (USNA '33) USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks kaibokan KUSAGAKI at 14-50N, 119-57E.

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Manila. DURBAN, KIZAN, RISSHUN, KUNIYAMA, SHINKO and ATLAS MARUs are detached. SHOEI MARU joins the convoy. All of the escorts are detached except CD-14, patrol boat PB-38 and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

11 August 1944:
At 2100, the convoy departs Manila for Miri.

12 August 1944:
At 0730, LtCdr Frank G. Selby’s (USNA '33) USS PUFFER (SS-268) torpedoes and damages SHINPO MARU. She is taken under tow by SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs and beached, then abandoned. Selby also torpedoes and sinks TEIKON MARU. CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38 drop 37 depth charges, but PUFFER slips away unscathed.

18 August 1944:
At 1700, the convoy arrives at Miri.

19 August 1944:
KOKUSEI MARU departs Miri for Kuching, Borneo in convoy MISHI-07 also consisting of SHINCHO, URAL, HIYORI, HIGANE, SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1 escorted by kaibokan CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38.

21 August 1944:
Arrives at Kuching, Borneo to shelter after a torpedo attack on MISHI-07.

24 August 1944:
Departs Kuching.

25 August 1944:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.

Mid-September 1944:
Bintan Island, NEI (just S of Singapore). KOKUSEI MARU loads a cargo of bauxite.

22 September 1944:
At 0800, KOKUSEI MARU departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy MI-18 consisting of HIYORI, KIKUSUI, RYOFU, HIGANE, KAISOKU MARUs and UNKAI MARU No. 5 and NANSHIN MARU NO. 18 escorted by destroyers SHIOKAZE and KURETAKE. KOKUSEI MARU is carrying 40 passengers, crew and gunners, bauxite (aluminum) ore and some vehicles. [2]

26 September 1944:
Arrives at Miri. The convoy loads cargo then departs for Manila via Brunei.

1 October 1944:
The convoy departs Brunei Bay hugging the coast escorted by SHIOKAZE and KURETAKE and an unidentified smaller escort.

NW Borneo. SW of Kudat, off Gaya Bay, At 2255, LtCdr John C. Martin's (USNA '3?) USS HAMMERHEAD (SS-364) picks up a convoy on SJ radar at 12,000 yards that they make out as five large ships with three escorts. Martin commences tracking.

At 2326, HAMMERHEAD fires her six bow torpedoes at the convoy and begins to swing around to bring her stern tubes to bear. At 2330, Martin fires his aft torpedoes.

2 October 1944:
At 0034, HAMMERHEAD torpedoes and sinks HIYORI MARU at 06-28N 116-14E. Seven troops and 27 crewmen are KIA.

At 0041, HAMMERHEAD torpedoes and sinks ore-carrier HIGANE MARU by the bow at 06-30N, 116-15E. Six troops and nine crewmen are KIA. HAMMERHEAD also torpedoes and sinks ore-carrier KOKUSEI MARU at 06-30N 116-18E. 32 troops and 47 crewmen are KIA.

The destroyers do not counter-attack.

Author’s Notes:
[1] Also known as NICHIWA MARU.

[2] In mid-Sep ‘44, KOKUSEI MARU loaded a cargo of bauxite at Bintan. It seems probable HIGANE and HIYORI MARUs also loaded their bauxite at Bintan.

-Bob Hackett

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