(NANMAN (ex-FUJI) MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2016 Bob Hackett

17 July 1920:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co. K. K. as Yard No, 476, a 6,571-ton passenger-cargo ship for Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” Line), K. K. of Kobe.

15 January 1921:
Launched and named named FUJI MARU.

6 April 1921:
Completed. November 1924:
In service on K Lines’s westbound “Around-the-World” route.

March 1927:
Transferred to K Lines’s North Pacific Express Line.

April 1928:
Sold to the Ishikawa steam ship Co., Ltd.

7 May 1928:
Sold to the Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, Tokyo.

23 May 1928:
Renamed KUMA MARU.

26 December 1933:
Sold to Yamashita Kisen Kaisha of Tokyo.

15 February 1934:
The ship is actually transferred to Yamashita Kisen Kaisha. MARU.

12 May 1934:

May 1935:
NANMAN MARU transits the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

22 April 1936:
NANMAN MARU arrives at San Pedro, California from Yokohoma carrying 600 tons of general cargo for the port.

19 July 1940:
NANMAN MARU arrives at San Francisco from Yokohama via Los Angeles. United States customs agents today seize more than seventeen pounds of cocaine from a Japanese crew member, one of the largest narcotics seizures ever made on the Pacific Coast. They searched the ship and found the remainder of the big cocaine supply In the ship's boiler room.

5 August 1941:
Authorities in Tokyo announce that all Japanese ships have suspended sailings to the United States indefinitely. Japan also cancels sailings of ships to Australia. NANMAN MARU, which was to have sailed for Sydney, Australia late in July, is withdrawn from the service.

Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) at unknown date and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 440.

8 December 1941:
The Pacific War begins.

17 May 1942:
Off Minato, Tokyo Bay. At 1040, NANMAN MARU departs in an unnumbered convoy also consisting of TOUN, TOYO and SHORYU MARUs escorted by destroyer SAWAKAZE. Later that day, SAWAKAZE is detached S of the Tenryugawa River.

16 June 1942:
NANMAN MARU departs Tokyo Bay in a westbound convoy consisting of TONEGAWA, KURETAKE MARUs, NISSHIN MARU No. 2 and TOYO MARU No. 1 escorted by minesweeper W-18. Later, W-18 is detached off Daio Zaki.

21 December 1942:
Released by the IJA back to her owners, but the same day is requisitioned and operated by the IJN with civilian crew as an Ippan Choyosen (B-AK).

9 October 1943:
At 1300, NANMAN MARU departs Rabaul for Palau escorting convoy O-903 also consisting of TAKAOKA MARU and tanker KYOEI MARU escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-39.

16 October 1943:
At 0830, arrives at Palau.

26 October 1943:
At 1100, NANMAN MARU departs Palau evacuating Japanese residents to Saeki in convoy FU-607 also consisting of JUISSEI, KAYO, MEXICO, NISSHU and TOSHO MARUs escorted by patrol boat PB-31. At 30N, minelayers NUWAJIMA and YURIJIMA and auxiliary minesweepers AOI MARU, YACHIYO MARU and TOKUHO MARU No. 10 join the convoy.

27 October 1943:
NW of Yap. At 2140, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Cdr. Glynn R. Donaho’s USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) torpedoes and sinks NANMAN MARU carrying civilian repatriates at 12-02N, 134, 28E. One crewman is KIA.

30 November 1943:
Removed from the Navy List.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett

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