(Sister NANKING MARU, prewar)
IJA Transport MEIKAI MARU:
Tabular Record of
© 2018 Bob Hackett
Osaka. Laid down by Osaka Iron Works' Sakurajima Plant as a 3, 197-ton cargo ship for Meiji Kaiun, K. K. (Shipping Co., Ltd) of Kobe.
E January 1917:
Launched and named MEIKAI MARU.
Completed and registered in Tarumi. Placed in Meiji Kaiun's service.
11 September 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army as a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 778.
17 January 1943:
MEIKAI MARU departs Ujina for Rabaul, New Britain in convoy "U "consisting of INDUS, KIRIHA, MOMOHA, NAGANO and YAMATO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-36 and subchaser CH-31.
19 January 1943:
At 29N, destroyer YUNAGI rendezvous with convoy "U" and takes over escort. Patrol boat PB-31 and subchaser CH-36 are detached.
27 January 1943:
Subchaser CH-18 rendezvous with convoy "U" at 00-30N, 149-40E and relieves YUNAGI. CH-18 escorts the convoy to Rabaul.
31 January 1943:
At 0120, convoy "U" arrives at Rabaul.
9 May 1943:
At 1100, MEIKAI MARU departs Palau for Manila in convoy No. 3207 also consisting of HEIAN, HORAI, INDUS, KIYO and KIZAN MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA. During the voyage, HORAI and KIYO MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 17 are detached.
15 May 1943:
At 1116, LtCdr (later Captain) Phillip D. Quirk's (USNA ’32) USS GAR (SS-206) torpedoes and sinks MEIKAI MARU at 13-10N, 121-50E. 12 crewmen are KIA.
About 1221 that day, LtCdr Quirk also torpedoes and sinks INDUS MARU with unknown casualties. MATSUWA makes several counter-attacks dropping depth charges during and after the action, but without effect. In poor weather, MATSUWA rescues 1,648 survivors of the two marus. USS GAR evades and escapes.
 It is acknowledged that the statement from a Japanese source that "MATSUWA rescues 1,648 survivors of the two marus" seems incredible for a kaibokan.
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.