(KOTOKU MARU, sister to NICHIYOKU MARU)
IJN NICHIYOKU MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement
© 2016 Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall
Laid down by Kawaminami Kogyo K.K at Koyagishima as a 1D type cargo vessel for Nissan Kisen K.K., Tokyo.
Conversion for military duty as an oil tanker (primary emergency oil tanker) starts at Kawaminami Kogyo K K shipyard at Koyagi island.
10 December 1942:
The ship will be requisitioned from 13 December 1942 under the Third Secret Military Preparation instructions.
25 April 1943:
Launched and named NICHIYOKU MARU.
31 May 1943:
Completed. Registered by the Department of the Navy as a general requisitioned tanker (Ippan Choyosen), attached to the Sasebo Naval district.
21 August 1943:
At 0900, departs Naha in convoy TA-107 also consisting of TAIUN MARU No. 9, HOZAN MARU No. 1, KYOEI MARU No. 5 and MIYAKO, RYUTO and KEIUN MARUs escorted by auxiliary minesweeper HIMESHIMA MARU and auxiliary patrol boat UGORO MARU. The convoy sails at 7.5 knots.
23 August 1943:
The ship will be derequisitioned from 27 August 1943. At 1000, due to arrive at Kirun.
31 August 1943:
1 September 1943:
Requisitioned again as a Navy supply ship attached to the Sasebo Naval District.
2 September 1943:
At 1200, sails in convoy No. 320 from Mako en route to St Jacques also consisting of cargo ships NORWAY, BOKUYO and SHINNO MARUs and three unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat HUASHAN (KAZAN) MARU. At 0800, IJN auxiliary transport KOSEI MARU (2,170 grt) departs Takao Naval base and joins the convoy.
3 September 1943:
Departs Mako in convoy No. 320 now consisting of KIRISHIMA MARU, KOSEI MARU and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat KAZAN MARU.
6 September 1943:
KOSEI MARU is detached from the convoy and at 1600, arrives at Yulin.
8 September 1943:
At 1840, in 11-04N, 110-27E the convoy is attacked by Cdr Frederick Lucas’ (USNA ’30) USS BILLFISH (SS-286) which misses NORWAY MARU with three torpedoes.
9 September 1943:
At 1700, arrives at St Jacques.
8 December 1943:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 422.
10 December 1943:
Designated the 19th Naval ship. Departs Singapore.
12 December 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.
Loads 2,200 kiloliters of B type heavy oil. Oil run between Palembang and Singapore, transporting B type heavy oil. ( Planned were 6 voyages a month with a total of 35 voyages).
20 February 1944:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 216.
10 June 1944:
17 June 1944:
In 03-40N, 99-07E damaged by a magnetic mine (laid by British submarine HMS TALLY HO on 14 May ‘44). Becomes unnavigatable. Emergency repairs are carried out. (Some reports show mine damage 18 May).
21 June 1944:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 558.
11 December 1944:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 1263.
11 January 1945:
Departs Singapore. Sustains an air attack by USAAF Boeing B-29 ‘Superfortress’. The Type 93 13mm MG fires 298 rounds and the 7mm MG fires 50 shots.
E 13 January 1945:
Arrives at Palembang.
16 February 1945:
At 2100, departs Singapore for Moji in convoy HI-88-H consisting of HONAN MARU and tanker EISHO MARU, escorted by kaibokan YAKU, CD-13 and CD 31 and subchaser CH-57. En route HONAN MARU is detached for St Jacques.
22 February 1945:
Off Cape Padaran, French Indochina. About 0900, LtCdr Henry D. Sturr’s (USNA ’33) USS BECUNA (SS-319) running submerged at periscope depth, sights the convoy. Sturr fires a spread of six Mk XXIII torpedoes and scores one hit on NICHIYOKU MARU. The tanker sinks rapidly at 11-30N, 109-06E with the loss of 38 gunners and 32 crewmen. The escorts counterattack dropping 65 depth charges, but are unsuccessful. 
 at the time of her sinking, NICHIYOKU MARU was rated ‘Haitosen’ as shared between the Navy and the Civilian Shipping Administration (Senpaku Un ‘eikai) (B/C-AO).
Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.
- Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.
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