(NITTEI MARU sister of NIKKOKU MARU, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2012 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

E 1940:
Innoshima. Laid down by Osaka Iron Works K.K. shipyard as a 2,728-ton cargo ship for Nissan Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

E September 1940:
Launched and named NIKKOKU MARU. [1]

25 March 1941:
Completed and registered in Tokyo.

10 November 1941:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport (Ko) category under internal order No. 1391 and attached to the Maizuru Naval District with Maizuru as home port. [2]

11 November 1941:
Formally requisitioned by the IJN.

15 November 1941:
Maizuru. Starts her conversion to an auxiliary transport at the Navy Yard.

E November 1941:
Tactically assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Tsukahara Nishizo’s (36) (former CO of carrier AKAGI) 11th Air Fleet, Supply Unit also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transports KAMOGAWA, KEIYO and LYONS MARUs, ammunition ship TATSUGAMI MARU and auxiliary transports NANA and AMAGISAN MARUs and HINO MARU No. 5.

20 November 1941:
Recalled Captain (Rear Admiral, posthumously) Mori Ryo (38) is appointed Supervisor.

30 November 1941:
The conversion is completed.

1 December 1941:
Departs Maizuru.

E December 1941:
Arrives at Kure. Departs later and heads to southern China.

13 December 1941:
NIKKOKU MARU runs aground and is stranded off Samah, Hainan Island, China. [3]

18 December 1941:
At 1900, strong waves cause the ship to break in two parts and sink. Casualties, if any, are unknown.

15 January 1942:
Removed from the Navy’s list under internal order No. 78.

Authors Notes:
[1] Also known as NICHIKOKU MARU.

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

[3] According to some sources, the ship was torpedoed and damaged by USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) but this is clearly an error.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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