YUSOSEN!

(NISSHIN MARU in peacetime )

IJN NISSHIN MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2009-2014 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 5


26 February 1936:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Zosensho as a 16,764-ton whaling factory ship for Taiyo Hogei K.K., the whaling division of Hayashikane Shoten, later Taiyo Gyogyo (now Maruha) K.K. The design is based on Norwegian factory ship SIR JAMES CLARK ROSS.

1 August 1936:
Launched and named NISSHIN MARU.

28 September 1936:
Completed and placed into whaling service by Taiyo Gyogyo.

13 November 1936:
Antarctic. NISSHIN MARU begins a four month whaling expedition, killing more than 1,000 whales, including 807 blue whales.

1937:
NISSHIN MARU is transferred to direct ownership of Hayashikane Shoten K.K.

22 February 1941:
Antarctic Ocean. German Rear Admiral Robert Eyssen’s Hilfskreuzer (Auxiliary Cruiser) Schiff 45 KOMET is looking for the Anglo-Norwegian whaling fleets, but his radio operator hears only Japanese traffic. Commerce Raider KOMET discovers a Japanese whaler and later, NISSHIN MARU and factory ship TONAN MARU No. 2. Eyssen learns from the Captain of TONAN MARU No. 2 that his potential targets are operating further west.

18 August 1941:
Arrives at Moji.

25 November 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as an Ippan Choyosen (General Requisitioned oil transport Ship).

10 April 1942:
Off Shionomisaki. At 1327, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral ) Frank W. Fenno’s (USNA ’25) USS TROUT (SS-202) fires three torpedoes at NISSHIN MARU. He gets one hit that probably damages her at 33-26N, 135-38N. NISSHIN MARU escapes seaward at full speed.

13 April 1942:
Departs Shortland.

14 April 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

15 April 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

21 April 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

April - May 1942:
Probably undergoes battle-damage repairs at an unknown location, possibly Truk.

20 May 1942:
At 1200 auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU meets up with NISSHIN MARU that has departed Rabaul a few days before.

21 May 1942:
At 1130 arrives at Truk.

E 4 June 1942:
Departs Hesaki in convoy also consisting of tanker TATEKAWA MARU and cargo ships KYUSHU and KAISHO MARUs.

5 June 1942:
Passes through the Bungo Suido.

25 June 1942:
Departs Kure.

3 July 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

18 July 1942:
NISSHIN MARU departs Yokosuka for Mako, Pescadores escorted by destroyer OBORO.

E 23 July 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

26 July 1942:
At 0700 departs Mako in Toku Convoy also consisting of CANBERRA MARU escorted by destroyer MINAZUKI.

29 July 1942:
Arrives at Manila.

3 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

27 October 1942:
In waters off Truk destroyer ASANAGI meets up with NISSHIN MARU and briefly escorts the vessel.

1 November 1942:
Departs Truk escorted by destroyer YUZUKI.

4 November 1942:
At 01-00S 152-35E YUZUKI is detached.

9 November 1942:
Departs Shortland likely escorted by the submarine chaser CH-16.

12 November 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

14 November 1942:
At 1600 departs Rabaul for Truk likely escorted by submarine chaser CH-16.

20 November 1942:
Arrives at Truk. Soon after submarine I-175 is damaged in a collision with NISSHIN MARU. I-175 is run aground to avoid sinking.

21 November 1942:
Departs Truk with tanker OMUROSAN MARU escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOUN MARU.

22 November 1942:
In western Carolines CHOUN MARU is detached.

27 November 1942:
Departs Manila escorted by auxiliary gunboat KISO MARU. The gunboat later is detached to carry out a submarine sweep on the west side of Palawan Island.

6 December 1942:
Departs Miri.

21 December 1942:
At 1200, arrives at Yokohama. Probably undergoes collision repairs and other maintenance.

21 January 1943:
Departs Yokohama and arrives Yokosuka later that day.

22 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka and is initially escorted by patrol boat PB-31 to 33 degrees north.

E 4 February 1943:
Arrives at Miri. Probably loads fuel oil.

7 February 1943:
Off Miri, Borneo. At 1510 (H), from 5,000 yards LtCdr (later Vice Admiral/MOH) Lawson P. Ramage’s (USNA ’31) submerged USS TROUT (SS-202) fires two torpedoes at NISSHIN MARU that is anchored at 04-41N, 114-52E, well within the five fathom curve at Miri. At 1513, USS TROUT battle surfaces, but NISSHIN MARU opens fire with a deck gun and scores two near-misses on the submarine. Ramage crash dives. At 1517, one explosion is heard. Ramage sees smoke over NISSHIN MARU’s stern through his periscope as he takes USS TROUT to deeper water and safety.

20 February 1943:
At 1500 departs Miri escorted by minesweeper W-7.

3 February 1943:
At 1620 arrives at Singapore. Probably undergoes battle-damage repairs at Singapore.

March 1943:
The company is restyled as Nishi Taiyo Gyogyo K.K.

21 December 1943:
Released to her owners.

25 December 1943:
Departs Singapore.

5 February 1944:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

11 February 1944:
Departs Shimotsu and later that day arrives at Osaka.

22 February 1944:
Departs Osaka.

24 February 1944:
Arrives at Sasebo.

2 March 1944:
Departs Sasebo.

4 March 1944:
At Kagoshima NISSHIN MARU joins Convoy MOTA-05 that had previously being devastated by submarine attack. The convoy, by now consisting of NISSHIN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship joins convoy MOTA-07 consisting of TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA), YAMAHAGI, KONSAN, CHIYODA, SUGIYAMA, KENSEI, SARAWAK, HAKUROKU (HAKUSHIKA), RIKKO, ATAGO, NITTATSU, and KUNIKAWA MARUs escorted by the destroyer AMAGIRI and minesweeper W-30. Additional escorts in the form of the old destroyer ASAGAO and minelayer MAESHIMA also join. The ships depart Kagoshima.

7 March 1944:
HAKUROKU MARU suffers engine problems and straggles but at 1620 rejoins the convoy.

8 March 1944:
NITTATSU MARU straggles but at 0700 rejoins convoy. Off northern Formosa TEIKA (ex-French CAP VARELLA) and YAMAHAGI MARUs are detached.

9 March 1944:
At 1440 arrives at Takao.

16 March 1944:
Departs Takao in convoy TASA-10 also consisting of SARAWAK, HIOKI, YASUKUNI, KENSEI MARUs, HISHI MARU No.3 and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by the auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

20 March 1944:
HIOKI and YASUKUNI MARUs are detached for Yulin.

21 March 1944:
Arrives Camranh Bay.

22 March 1944:
Departs Camranh Bay.

23 March 1944:
At 1000 arrives Cap St Jacques.

27 March 1944:
Departs St Jacques in convoy SASHI-14 also consisting of TATEISHI, ZUISHO and TSURUSHIMA MARUs escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU. TATEISHI MARU was towing the damaged kaibokan TSUSHIMA.

31 March 1944:
Near Singapore the salvage tug KURUSHIMA (Ex CHRISTINE MOLLER) takes over the tow. Later that day the convoy arrives at Singapore.

19 April 1944:
NISSHIN MARU departs Singapore for Saigon escorting convoy SHISA-17 consisting of tankers KORYU MARU and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 3, cargo ship LONDON MARU and transport NAGATA MARU escorted by subchaser CH-9.

22 April 1944:
Off Cape St. Jacques, Indochina. At 1945, seven B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers of the 14th Air Force's 308th Bomb Group make a low-level attack on anchored convoy SHISHA-17. The B-24s sink NAGATA MARU with the loss of seven crewmen, 19 soldiers and 27 passengers, KORYU MARU taking down 43 crewmen and 38 soldiers, LONDON MARU with the loss of one crewman and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 3 taking down 18 crewmen. They also slightly damage NISSHIN MARU. One B-24 is damaged. Only CH-9 escapes without damage.

4 May 1944:
NISSHIN MARU departs Miri in convoy MI-02 (return journey) consisting of tankers TACHIBANA, NITTETSU, HAKUBASAN, SANKO (YAMAKO), TAKETSU (BUTSU), TENSHIN, NISSHIN, SHINCHO and MATSUMOTO MARUs and YAMAMIZU MARU No. 2 and OGURA MARU No.1, cargo ships KENSEI, TAIHEI, AKAGISAN and TAIYU MARUs and passenger ship KURENAI MARU escorted by kaibokan AWAJI, torpedo boat SAGI and patrol boat PB-38. At 2100, the convoy anchors in Imuruan Bay, NW Borneo.

5 May 1944:
At 0530, departs Imuruan Bay.

6 May 1944:
SW of Balabac Island. At 0801, LtCdr (later Captain) Francis D. Walker's (USNA’35) USS CREVALLE (SS-291) fires torpedoes at the largest ship in the convoy, NISSHIN MARU. Three hit aft and heavy flooding begins. At 0810, she sinks at 07-19N, 116-52E. 15 crewmen are KIA but the fate of her 291 passengers is unknown. The escorts counter-attack and drop 13 DCs, but without success.


Authors' Notes:
Available information of NISSHIN MARU's wartime activities is sparse. NISSHIN MARU seems to have been on the Miri-Empire run for most of the war. Recently, the wreck of NISSHIN MARU was discovered laying on its side.

Thanks for assistance goes to Sander Kingsepp of Estonia. Photo credit and thanks for further assistance goes to Gilbert Casse of France.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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