(MORIOKA MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014 Bob Hackett

6 April 1920:
Uraga. Laid down at Uraga Dock Co. as Yard No. 149, a 4,469-ton cargo ship for the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line of Tokyo.

21 July 1920.
Launched and named MORIOKA MARU.

22 September 1920:
Completed and placed on NYK's Japan ~ Europe route.

16 January 1921:
Arrives at Ellis Island, New York from Barcelona, Spain via the Suez Canal.

12 April 1934:
Departs Singapore via Columbo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for Bombay, India.

1 December 1936:
NYK restores its Yokohama ~ Sydney service with MORIOKA, CALCUTTA and MURORAN MARUs.

E August 1937:
Chartered by the Imperial Army (IJA).

18 September 1937:
MORIOKA MARU departs Kobe carrying the IJA 101st Division Signal Unit.

22 September 1937:
Arrives between Woosung and Shanghai.

E 1938:
Released back to her owners.

3 July 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJA and allotted Army No. 286.

2 March 1942:
Sakito Harbor, Kakinoura-shima, Nagasaki Prefecture. MORIOKA MARU loads 4.000 tons of coal.

4 March 1942:
At 1000, MORIOKA MARU departs Sakito Harbor for Takao, Formosa (Kaohsiung, Taiwan). At about 1130, a male stowaway is discovered. MORIOKA MARU´s Captain Kikuchi Susumu decides to turn back to Sakito.

5.5 nms and 177 degrees from Odate-jima Light. At about 1207, MORIOKA MARU has just reversed course when she strikes a defensive mine. The mine explodes port side between No. 1 and No. 2 holds and tears a huge hole in the hull. Captain Kikuchi orders all hands to abandon ship and both lifeboats are lowered. All on board get away safely. At 1220, MORIOKA MARU floods and sinks bow first at 32-55.5N, 129-26.4E.

Later the same day, the survivors are picked up by auxiliary minelayer KINJO MARU (330grt) and landed at Sasebo.

Author's Note:
[1] Some sources say the captain of MORIOKA MARU was named Kyoda Shigeru (later captain of CALCUTTA and LISBON MARUs, both sunk by American submarines), but according to Nippon Yusen Kaisha´s official wartime history, the name of the captain of MORIOKA MARU at the time of her sinking was definitely Kikuchi Susumu Further, Kyoda Shigeru is not an alternative reading.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany. Thanks also go to Fontessa-san of Japan.

-Bob Hackett

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