(NICHIYU MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2016 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

Revision 2

11 November 1937:
Koyagijima. Laid down by Kawaminami Kogyo K.K. Zosensho shipyard for Nissan Kisen K.K. as a 6,817-ton cargo ship.

24 April 1938:
Launched and named NICHIYU MARU.

28 December 1938:
Completed and registered in Tokyo. Her Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) is 3,990-tons.

[1] E 1939:
Calls at Nagasaki.

Her NRT is changed to 3,981-tons. [1]

3 December 1940:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

16 December 1940:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary minelayer attached to the Maizuru Naval District with Maizuru as home port under Navy’s instruction No. 980. Navy Captain Goto Tetsugoro (38) (former ComDesDiv 12) is appointed Commanding Officer. Begins that same day conversion to military duty at Harima Zosensho K.K. shipyard.

13 February 1941:
The conversion is completed.

24 March 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

E 25 March ~2 April 1941:
Operates in mid-China waters.

3 April 1941:
Arrives at Tachibana Wan (Bay), Kyushu.

10 June 1941:
Departs Sasebo.

E 12 June ~ 5 July 1941:
Operates in southern China waters.

7 July 1941:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores. Departs later for Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan).

11 July 1941:
Departs Takao.

E 12 July ~ 9 August 1941:
Operates in southern China waters.

10 August 1941:
Arrives at Takao.

12 August 1941:
Departs Takao.

E 13 ~ 25 August 1941:
Operates in southern China waters.

27 August 1941:
Arrives at Sasebo.

10 December 1941:
Assigned to Vice Admiral Takahashi Ibo’s (36) Third Fleet in Rear Admiral (later Vice Admiral) Hirose Sueto’s (39) Second Base Force, based at Takao.

1 January 1942:
Departs Sasebo.

15 January 1942:
Scheduled to be fitted with rangefinder equipment under Navy’s secret instruction No. 520.

21 January 1942:
Assigned to Dutch East Indies area forces under telegram No. 4.

23 January 1942:
At Davao, Mindanao. Provides medical supplies to auxiliary hospital ship ASAHI MARU.

15 February 1942:
IJN Captain Inohara Kunichi (33) is appointed CO.

10 March 1942:
Assigned to Southwest Area Fleet in Vice Admiral Sugiyama Rokuzo’s (38) Third Southern Expeditionary Fleet, based at Luzon, Manila under Navy’s secret instruction No. 6.

27 March 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

3 April 1942:
Departs Takao.

14 April 1942:
Arrives at San Fernando, Luzon. Departs later.

27 May 1942:
Arrives at Miike with IJA transports ATLAS and NISSHU MARUs escorted by auxiliary subchaser SHOWA MARU No. 6 and auxiliary patrol boat NAGATO MARU.

30 Mav 1942:
Passes through the Bungo Suido heading north.

31 May 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

12 June 1942:
Departs Kure.

18 July 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

20 July 1942:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 1334 and registered again as an auxiliary transport, (Ko) category attached to Maizuru Naval District with Maizuru as homeport under instruction No. 1336, still with Captain Inohara Kunichi as CO. [2]

25 July 1942:
Officially rerated as auxiliary transport (Ko) category under Navy’s secret instruction No. 9269.

14 September 1942:
Conversion to new military duty is completed at the Kure Naval Yard.

17 September 1942:
Departs Kure.

E September 1942:
Arrives at Paramushiro, Kuriles.

29 September 1942:
Navy Captain Miyasaka Ichiro (41) is appointed CO.

5 November 1942:
At 1500 departs Paramushiro.

9 November 1942:
At 1030 arrives at Otaru, Hokkaido.

12 November 1942:
Departs Otaru.

13 November 1942:
At 1200 arrives at Ominato, Aomori Prefecture. Departs later.

19 November 1942:
Temporarily equipped with landing craft No. 4117 borrowed from Ominato Naval District.

23 November 1942:
At 1400 departs Ominato. At 2400 arrives at Otaru.

25 November 1942:
At 0700 departs Otaru.

29 November 1942:
At 1300 arrives at Paramushiro.

11 December 1942:
Arrives at Ominato.

15 December 1942:
Departs Ominato.

E 20 December 1942:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

23 December 1942:
Departs Paramushiro in convoy No. 5 also consisting of IJA transport URAJIO MARU escorted by destroyer USUGUMO.

28 December 1942:
At 0900, arrives at Kiska, Aleutians and begins unloading operations.

31 December 1942:
Sustains an air raid by USAAF Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” aircraft. NICHIYU MARU is undamaged but URAJIO MARU is bombed and sunk at 51-58N, 177-33E with the loss of four of her crew.

3 January 1943:
Departs Kiska.

9 January 1943:
At 1400 arrives at Kataoka Wan, Shimushu-To (now Zaliv Kozyrevskogo, Ostrov Shumushu).

10 January 1943:
At 0600 departs Kataoka Wan.

14 January 1943:
Encounters icebergs NE of Shiretoko waters.

15 January 1943:
Instructed to unload landing craft No. 4117 to the Kuriles Special Base Force under Navy’s secret telegram No. 152-022.

16 January 1943:
At 0700 arrives at Ominato. Departs later.

18 January 1943:
At 2330 departs Ominato.

19 January 1943:
At 1133 arrives at Muroran. Remains there for the rest of the month.

23 February 1943:
Departs Kure for Guam, Marianas in unnumbered convoy also consisting of auxiliary transport KINAI MARU without initial escort.

24 February 1943:
Off Mizunoko lighthouse. Minelayer NATSUSHIMA and torpedo boat HATO join NICHIYU and KINAI MARUs and escort them South.

2 March 1943:
About 200 nautical miles SW of Guam. LtCdr (later Captain) Phillip H. Ross’ (USNA ’27) USS HALIBUT (SS-232) detects a large ship and about midnight, fires a spread of torpedoes scoring two hits on NICHIYU MARU at 10-25N, 145-25E. The transport, suffering heavy damage remains afloat and manages to drive off USS HALIBUT with her deck guns. No casualties are sustained.

E 4 March 1943:
The escorts are detached at 29N.

5 March 1943:
The now unescorted convoy is met up by auxiliary merchant cruiser UKISHIMA MARU at 10-55N, 145 25E. NICHIYU MARU is towed to Guam.

6 March 1943:
Arrives under tow at Guam.

March ~ June 1943:
Under repairs at Guam.

17 June 1943:
Ship is deemed irreparable and repairs are suspended.

12 June 1944:
Sustains further damage by USN TF 58.4 aircraft.

25 June 1944:
Sustains further damage by shelling.

10 August 1944:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 949.

Authors' Notes :
[1] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by subtracting non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

[2] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan and to to Matthew Jones of Mississippi, USA for COs' info.

Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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