RIKUGUN YUSOSEN

(Similar sized ship, prewar)

NIKKIN MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2018 Bob Hackett


1919:
Seattle, WA. Laid down by the J. F. Duthie & Company as a 5,802 ton cargo ship for the United States Shipping Board Merchant Fleet Corporation.

January 1920:
Launched and named WEST IVAN.

1920:
Completed and operated by the Frank Waterhouse & Co.

4 August 1921:
Arrives at Vancouver, B.C. and then Seattle, WA. She carries a cargo of hemp and general cargo from the Orient.

1928:
Sold to an unknown firm. Renamed GOLDEN WEST.

1937:
Sold to the American Hawaiian Steamship Co. Registed in New York as Cia Colonial de Navegacion. Renamed CANADIAN.

E 1942:
Confiscated by the Japanese at an unknown location, possibly the Philippines. Operated by Kitigawa Sangyo Kaiun, K. K. Renamed HOKUSEI MARU

E 1942:
Renamed NIKKIN MARU.

E 1943:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) (exact date unknown) as a Haitosen Army/Civilian (A/C-AK) shared employment cargo ship and allotted Army No. 6015.

9 January 1943:
NIKKIN MARU departs Muroran in convoy No. 2109 also consisting of transports CHOSEN and SHOBU MARUs, cargo ships FUKI, ESUTORU, TAIKAI (2,478 GRT) and TONAN MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat KEISHIN MARU.

11 January 1943:
SW Inubosaki, Chiba Prefecture. KAIKO MARU strikes a mine at 03-24N, 154-13E that partially floods the engine room.

12 January 1943:
Arrives at Shibaura, Tokyo.

17 January 1943:
At 1000, NIKKIN MARU departs Tokyo Bay in convoy No. 7117 also consisting of EIAN, HOKUTO, MATSU, MIYO and OHA (later KURASAKI) MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-32. The convoy heads west towards the Inland Sea.

18 January 1943:
CH-32 is detached and probably returns to Yokosuka.

19 February 1943:
At 1400, NIKKIN MARU departs Yokohama for Muroran in convoy 1219B also consisting of MAYACHI and SUMIRE MARUs and one unidentified merchant escorted by subchaser CH-33.

3 April 1944:
At 1500, NIKKIN MARU departs Takao in convoy TASA-16 also consisting of ANKO, CHIHAYA, RYUKO, YULIN, HIGANE, PACIFIC, SHOKEI and SHINEI MARUs escorted by destroyer ASAGAO.

7 April 1944:
NIKKIN MARU arrives at Samah and is detached. RYUKO, and YULIN MARUs are also detached.

21 June 1944:
NIKKIN MARU departs Moji for Woosung, Korea transporting about 3,400 troops of the IJA's 23rd Army.

30 June 1944:
While on patrol in the shipping lane between Kyushu, Japan and Dalian, China, Cdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Richard H. O'Kane's USS TANG (SS-306) sights a cargo ship steaming without escort. After making an end around run on the surface which produces two torpedo misses, TANG goes deep to avoid depth charges, then surfaces and chases the target until she closes the range to 750 yards. At about 0205, TANG fires one torpedo by radar at NIKKIN MARU and scores a hit that breaks her back. NIKKIN MARU sinks at 35-05N, 125-00E. All soldiers and crew members aboard are KIA. [1]


Author's Note:
[1] The sinking of NIKKIN MARU was one of the worst maritime disasters in World War II.

Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

Bob Hackett


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