YUSOSEN!

(KOTOKU MARU sistership of NIKKAKU MARU, in wartime)

IJN NIKKAKU MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2016 Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall
Revision 3


1942:
Laid down by Kawaminami Kogyo K.K at Koyagishima as a 1,946-tons 1D peacetime standard type cargo vessel for Nissan Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

10 December 1942:
The ship will be requisitioned from 13 Dec 42 under the Third Secret Military Preparation instructions.

7 February 1943:
Launched and named NIKKAKU MARU.

15 March 1943:
Registered as a general requisitioned transport (ippan choyosen), attached to the Kure Naval district.

16 March 1943:
Koyagi island. Conversion for military duty as an oil tanker (primary emergency oil tanker) starts at Kawaminami Kogyo K.K shipyard.

24 March 1943:
Completed.

30 March 1943:
The conversion is completed.

31 March 1943:
Departs Nagasaki and arrives at Sasebo later that day.

4 April 1943:
Departs Sasebo and joins convoy No. 144 also consisting of WAZAN (ex British VITORLOCK), TAMIN, SHINSHU and SHOEI MARUs (2764 grt) escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

6 April 1943:
Arrives at Tomie suffering severe mechanical problems. Detaches from convoy. Departs there and arrives at Nagasaki later that day. The engine and other damaged parts are repaired.

11 April 1943:
Departs Nagasaki and arrives at Tomie later that day.

14 April 1943:
Departs Tomie in convoy No. 147 with tankers TOKUWA MARU and NISSHIN MARU No. 2 without surface escort.

17 April 1943:
At 1815, in position 23-30N 124-19E about 93km east of Shiraho Zaki, Ishigaki Jima NISSHIN MARU No. 2 strikes mines presumably from a defensive barrage. 26 crew are killed after fire breaks out. The ship breaks into three parts with the fore and aft sections sinking but the large centrepart remaining afloat. Eventually this will drift ashore on the Formosan coast.

18 April 1943:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

21 April 1943:
Departs Mako and arrives at Takao, Formosa (now Kaoshiung, Taiwan) later that day.

22 April 1943:
At 1020, departs Takao in convoy No. 254 also consisting of civilian tanker TOKUWA MARU, auxiliary transport TAITO and SHOKEI MARUs, IJA transports MITO, YASUSHIMA, SHINSOKU and YAMATO MARUs and auxiliary survey vessel KYODO MARU No. 36 escorted by torpedo boat HAYABUSA.

26 April 1943:
SHOKEI and TOKUWA MARUs are detached and at 1900, arrive at Sasebo, the rest of the convoy resumes its course to Kure.

27 April 1943:
At 0655, arrives at Moji.

28 April 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

29 April 1943:
Departs Kobe.

1 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

11 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and arrives at Yokohama later that day.

12 May 1943:
Enters drydock. Undergoes extensive repairs to hull and engine.

25 May 1943:
Repairs are completed.

26 May 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives at Yokosuka later that day.

30 May 1943:
Departs Yokosuka towing an oil barge.

1 June 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

5 June 1943:
Departs Kobe.

7 June 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

14 June 1943:
Departs Sasebo towing an oil barge escorted by auxiliary netlayer KUMANO MARU.

15 June 1943:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

16 June 1943:
Departs Kagoshima in convoy ROKU-609 still towing an oil barge, with SHIGANOURA and TEIKON MARUs and nine unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary netlayer KOGA MARU. The ships sail at 7.5 knots.

20 June 1943:
At 1600, arrives at Kirun. By this time only SHIGANOURA, UNTEN (that joined at Funauki Wan), and TEIKON MARUs remain in the convoy. Auxiliary minesweeper HOEI MARU and auxiliary patrol boat UGORO MARU escorted the latter stage of the convoy.

22 June 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

1 July 1943:
At 1000, departs Takao in convoy No. 758 also consisting of two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.

5 July 1943:
At 1350, arrives at Manila,Philippines.

15 July 1943:
At 0700, departs Manila in Rinsen convoy also consisting of SHINYU MARU and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer FUYO.

20 July 1943:
At 1115, the convoy arrives at Tarakan but NIKKAKU MARU continues on.

22 July 1943:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo.

31 July 1943:
Departs Balikpapan.

5 August 1943:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

7 August 1943:
Departs Seletar.

8 August 1943:
Arrives at Palembang, Sumatra.

10 August 1943:
Departs Palembang.

12 August 1943:
At 1000, arrives at Bukum Island, Singapore (now Pulau Bukom).

15 August 1943:
At 0900, departs Bukum Island.

16 August 1943:
At 2000, arrives at Palembang.

17 August 1943:
Departs Palembang.

19 August 1943:
Arrives at Seletar.

22 August 1943:
Departs Seletar.

23 August 1943:
Arrives at Palembang. The ship will be derequisitioned from 27 Aug 43 under the Third Secret Military Preparation instructions.

25 August 1943:
Departs Palembang.

27 August 1943:
Arrives at Bukum Island.

29 August 1943:
Departs Bukum Island.

30 August 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

31 August 1943:
Derequisitioned.

1 September 1943:
Requisitioned again and registered as a naval auxiliary supply ship attached to the Sasebo Naval District.

13 September 1943:
Reported loading at Palembang.

20 September 1943:
Arrives at Singapore.

10 October 1943:
Departs Palembang.

28 October 1943:
At 1900, departs Palembang for Singapore.

1 November 1943:
Designated the 19th special Naval ship.

4 November 1943:
Arrives at Palembang.

30 November 1943:
Departs Singapore.

2 December 1943:
Due to arrive at Palembang.

8 December 1943:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 422.

11 December 1943:
At 1700, due to depart Palembang for Singapore.

13 December 1943:
Due to arrive at Singapore.

17 December 1943:
At 1430, due to arrive at Palembang from Seletar.

18 December 1943:
Due to depart Palembang.

14 January 1944:
Departs Palembang.

15 January 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

20 January 1944:
Arrives at Palembang with tankers CHORAN and KOTOKU MARUs.

21 January 1944:
At 1400, due to depart Palembang for Singapore.

20 February 1944:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 216.

4 March 1944:
At 1415, arrives at Palembang from Singapore.

21 May 1944:
At 1200, departs Pangkalan Susu for Singapore in a convoy also consisting of KOTOKU, SHONAN MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 7.

23 May 1944:
At 1730, the convoy arrives at Singapore from Belawan with KAISOKU MARU and an unknown ship having joined.

25 May 1944:
The same ships are due to depart Singapore for Belawan and Pangkalan Susu.

13 June 1944:
At 1700, due to depart Palembang for Singapore.

21 June 1944:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 558.

1 July 1944:
At 2400, due to arrive at Palembang.

4 July 1944:
At 1500, arrived at Singapore from Palembang.

10 July 1944:
At 1500, arrived at Singapore from Palembang.

14 July 1944:
At 1800, departs Palembang at 9 knots.

16 July 1944:
At 2000, due to arrive at Singapore but probably diverted to Lingga.

17 July 1944:
At 1920, arrived at Palembang, apparently from Lingga.

18 July 1944:
At 1730, due to depart Palembang for Lingga at 10 knots.

21 July 1944:
At 1030, arrives at Palembang from Lingga. Due to depart late that day for Lingga.

11 December 1944:
Scheduled to be registered as a Navy supply ship under the Third Secret Military Preparation instruction No. 1263.

20 January 1945:
Departs Singapore.

23 January 1945:
Sailing in ballast, NIKKAKU MARU strikes a mine and sinks off Sembilan Island, Sumatra with the loss of one of her crew. HOZAN MARU No. 1 also strikes a mine and sinks at 04-08N, 98-15E with the loss of two crewmen. [1] [2]


Authors Notes:
[1] It is not clear who laid the mines. Some sources credit RAF liberators which laid mines on 23 January 1945. Others sources credit British submarine HMS Trenchant which laid 12 M Mark II mines in Aru Bay on 16 September 1944.

[2] At the time of her sinking, NIKKAKU MARU was a shared Army tanker (A/C-AO).

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Berend van der Wal, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.


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