YUSOSEN!

(Wartime Standard Merchant Tanker 1TL)

IJN OKIKAWA MARU:

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2010 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 3


5 March 1943:
Kobe. Laid down by Kawasaki Shipbuilding as a 10,043-ton 1TL tanker for Kawasaki Kisen K. K., Kobe.

1 August 1943:
Launched and named OKIKAWA MARU. [1]

31 October 1943:
Completed.

10 November 1943:
At 1500 OKIKAWA MARU departs Mutsure for Takao, Formosa in convoy SA-17 consisting of oilers KYOKUTO and MIRI MARUs, Army Landing ships carriers NIGITSU and MAYASAN MARUs and cargo-passenger ships ORYOKU and USSURI MARUs with patrol voat PB-36 and fleet oiler ASHIZURI as the nominated escorts.

14 November 1943:
At 1610 arrives at Takao. Steams to Mako, Pescadores later that day.

25 November 1943:
OKIKAWA MARU departs Singapore in special convoy "G" consisting of tanker MIRI MARU and transport ASAMA MARU and two unidentified ships escorted by destroyer URANAMI.

30 November 1943:
URANAMI is detached. At 1000, eight miles and 220 degrees off Corregidor, kaibokan TSUSHIMA takes over as escort.

E 2 December 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

27 December 1943:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

28 December 1943:
Departs Takao.

29 December 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

30 December 1943:
Departs Moji.

31 December 1943:
At 0600, OKIKAWA MARU departs Moji in convoy HI-29 consisting of tankers KUROSHIO and (ex cargo) GOYO MARUs, cargo passenger ships KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and ASOSAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan SADO. That same day, fleet oiler ASHIZURI and sister SHIOYA depart Sasebo and join the convoy.

4 January 1944:
At 1600, convoy HI-29 arrives at Takao. ASHIZURI and SHIOYA are detached.

6 January 1944:
At 1315, OKIKAWA MARU departs Takao for Balikpapan, Borneo in the Rinji (special) M convoy with fleet oilers ASHIZURI and SHIOYA escorted by kaibokan SADO and patrol boat PB-36. The convoy accompanies fleet convoy HI-29 to Manila.

9 January 1944:
At 1450, arrives at Manila. The Rinji M convoy separates from convoy HI-29.

10 January 1944:
At 1840, OKIKAWA MARU departs Manila for Tarakan, Borneo with ASHIZURI and SHIOYA escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

13 January 1944:
At 1840, arrives at Tarakan.

14 January 1944:
At 0340, departs Tarakan.

15 January 1944:
At 1450, arrives at Balikpapan.

26 January 1944:
OKIKAWA MARU and ASHIZURI arrive at Singapore .

2 February 1944:
At 1300, OKIKAWA MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-38 consisting of transports KAGU and KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) MARUs and tankers AMATSU, OTOWASAN, OMINESAN and NICHINAN MARUs escorted by kaibokan KANJU and fleet oiler ASHIZURI.

8 February 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Takao.

9 February 1944:
At 1000, departs Takao.

13 February 1944:
At 1430, arrives at Moji.

14 February 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

25 February 1944:
Arrives Takao.

27/28 February 1944:
Departs Takao for Manila likely as part of convoy HI-47 that left at midnight for Tarakan, Balikpapan and Singapore consisting of oilers AMATSU, OMINESAN, OTOWASAN and KYOKUHO MARUs and NOSHIRO MARU and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by kaibokan IKI, ETOROFU and SADO.

15 March 1944:
At 1000, OKIKAWA MARU departs Singapore in convoy HI-50 consisting of tankers MANEI and EIHO MARUs and ten unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE and kaibokan SADO.

18 March 1944:
At 1600, arrives at Cape St Jacques.

20 March 1944:
At 1500, departs Cape St Jacques.

24 March 1944:
At 1900, arrives at Manila.

27 March 1944:
At 1400, departs Manila.

30 March 1944:
At 1000, arrives at Takao.

1 April 1944:
At 1600, departs Takao.

2 April 1944:
At 1700, arrives at Mako.

4 April 1944:
At 1600, departs Mako.

7 April 1944:
Arrives at Arikawa, Goto Retto.

8 April 1944:
Departs Arikawa. At 1010, arrives at Moji.

April 1944:
OKIKAWA MARU loads 100-tons of bombs and aircraft materials.

20 April 1944:
At 0600, departs Moji-Mutsure in ballast for Singapore with kaibokan KURAHASHI, CD-10, CD-11 and CD-20 escorting convoy HI-59 consisting of tankers NIPPPO, EIHO, MANEI (BANEI), OTORISAN and NIYO MARUs and probably KINUGASA, NOSHIRO and TEIRITSU MARUs and tanker NICHINAN MARU No. 2.

21 April 1944:
KURAHASHI and CD-20 are detached.

22 April 1944:
arrives at the Chusan Islands Group.

26 April 1944:
Departs Chusan Islands.

28 April 1944:
At 1410, arrives at Takao.

South China Sea. KURAHASHI and CD-20 arrive from Manila and rejoin the convoy.

29 April 1944:
At 0930, departs Takao.

2 May 1944:
At 1200, HI-59 arrives at Manila where the convoy is dissolved.

4 May 1944:
Departs Manila and arrives at Corregidor. Disembarks 252 passengers.

5 May 1944:
OKIKAWA MARU receives Combined Fleet radio order No. 75 that attaches her to the Combined Fleet's 1st Mobile Fleet. Departs Corregidor.

10 May 1944:
Arrives at Balikpapan, Borneo. Disembarks 16 passengers.

11 May 1944:
Loads fuel.

12 May 1944:
Loading is completed.

15 May 1944:
Departs Balikpapan.

18 May 1944:
Arrives at Tawi Tawi. That same day, refuels Mobile Fleet units.

22 May 1944:
Refueling is completed.

23 May 1944:
Departs Tawi Tawi.

26 May 1944:
Arrives at Palau. That same day refuels escorts.

29 May 1944:
Unloads fuel.

30 May 1944:
Unloading is completed.

1 June 1944:
Departs Palau for Balikpapan, Borneo.

E 5 June 1944:
Arrives at Davao. Later, departs and arrives at Tawi Tawi, Philippines.

6 June 1944:
At 1600, departs Tawi Tawi for Balikpapan in a convoy consisting of two unidentified tankers escorted by destroyers MINAZUKI and WAKATSUKI and an unidentified warship.

Sibutu Passage. At 1930, Cdr (MOH posthumously) Samuel D. Dealy's USS HARDER’s (SS-257) SJ radar picks up the convoy at 20,000 yards. Running on the surface, USS HARDER’s lookouts visually sight the convoy at 18,000 yards. The convoy is on a direct route to Tarakan. One of the destroyers spots USS HARDER. Dealy races away at 19 knots to lose the destroyer, but it follows the submarine's wake at high speed. When the range closes to 8,500 yards, Dealy takes USS HARDER to periscope depth and prepares to attack. At 2159, he fires three torpedoes. Two hit and sink destroyer MINAZUKI at 04-05N, 119-30E. Destroyer WAKATSUKI rescues 45 survivors.

8 June 1944:
At 1230, arrives at Balikpapan.

9 June 1944:
Loads fuel.

10 June 1944:
Fuel loading is completed. That same day, loads two depth charges.

14 June 1944:
Departs Balikpapan.

18 June 1944:
Arrives at Kanaru Bay, NEI. [2]

21 June 1944:
Departs Kanaru Bay.

22 June 1944:
Auxiliary transport KYOKUHO MARU breaks down. OKIKAWA MARU begins towing preparations, but discontinues them because of possible enemy attack. At 1400, arrives at Cabugao Bay, on the S coast of Catanduanes Island, Philippines. [2]

23 June 1944:
At 0600, departs Cabugao Bay. At 0840, enters Albay Gulf. Later that day, arrives at Legaspi, Philippines.

24 June 1944:
Departs Legaspi.

2 July 1944:
Arrives at Kobe.

17 July 1944:
Departs Kure.

23 July 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

27 July 1944:
At 0558, departs Manila in the "Nichiei Maru" convoy consisting of tankers NICHIEI and RYOEI MARUs escorted by DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI and SATSUKI and kaibokan MANJU.

1 August 1944:
At 1539, arrives at Singapore.

6 August 1944:
Departs Singapore. Later that day, arrives at the Lingga fleet anchorage.

9 August 1944:
Departs Lingga. Later that day, arrives at Singapore.

10 August 1944:
At 0800, OKIKAWA MARU departs Singapore in the Nichiei Maru convoy consisting of tankers NICHIEI and RYOEI MARUs escorted by DesDiv 30’s YUZUKI and UZUKI and SATSUKI and kaibokan MANJU.

11 August 1944:
At 1740, OKIKAWA MARU and SATSUKI are detached and return to Singapore.

13 August 1944:
Arrives at Seletar Naval Base, Singapore.

6 September 1944:
At 0748, OKIKAWA MARU departs Singapore in a convoy consisting of fleet oiler KAMOI and oiler KYOKUTO MARU escorted by destroyer SATSUKI and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

8 September 1944:
At 1030, OKIKAWA MARU and subchaser CH-30 steam ahead for Miri, Borneo. At 1858, the rest of the convoy arrives at Miri. OKIKAWA MARU loads 12,155-tons of No. 5 heavy oil.

9 September 1944:
Arrives at Brunei.

10 September 1944:
Departs Brunei.

11 September 1944:
Arrives at Culusian Bay.

12 September 1944:
Departs Culusian Bay. Later arrives at Baayan Island.

19 September 1944:
Departs Baayan Island. Later that day, arrives at Talampulan Island.

20 September 1944:
Departs Talampulan Island. Later that day, arrives at Manila.

21 September 1944:
At 0830, OKIKAWA MARU refuels destroyer SATSUKI. At about 0900, about 200 aircraft of Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Marc A. Mitscher's Task Force 38 begin strikes on Manila that continue throughout the day. OKIKAWA MARU stops refueling SATSUKI. Thereafter, planes from TG 38.1, TG 38.2 and TG 38.3 sink SATSUKI. OKIKAWA MARU is strafed and suffers minor damage, but at 1545, OKIKAWA MARU is hit by a bomb port side amidships.

Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi, (former CO of KIRISHIMA), CINC, Southwest Area Fleet, advises the Supreme Commander of Japanese Forces in the Southern Area, Field Marshal, Count, Terauchi Hisaichi, CINC, Southern Army, to transfer all supply ships from Manila to the relative security of Coron Bay off Palawan Island, Philippines. At 1715, Terauchi issues the order.

At 2200, OKIKAWA MARU departs Manila for Coron Bay, Calamian Islands in the Taihi (refugee) convoy with CHINZEI, BAIKAL, TENHI, TAITEN, OLYMPIA, EKKAI and KOGYO MARUs and stores ship IRAKO escorted by minelayer AOTAKA and auxiliary subchasers SHONAN MARU No. 11, HAKKO MARU, CHa-60 and CHa-61.

22 September 1944:
At 1730, the Taihi convoy arrives at Coron Bay and anchors near the town of Concepcion.

24 September 1944:
At 0550, 96 Grumman F6F “Hellcat” fighters and 24 Curtiss SB2C “Helldiver” dive-bombers of Marc A. Mitscher's (former CO of HORNET, CV-8) Task Group 38.3’s Air Group 18 from INTREPID (CV-11), AG-31 from CABOT (CVL-28) and AG-19 based on Mitscher's flagship LEXINGTON (CV-16) take off to attack the anchorage at Coron Bay, Busuanga Island, Palawan, 340 miles away.

NW of Coron Bay, two miles south of Concepcion. The Taihi convoy is dispersed in the coastal waters around Busuanga Island. At 0855, Air Group 31’s fighter-bombers start their attack. The first groups strafe OKIKAWA MARU, but at 0910, the dive-bombers score a bomb hit portside aft At 0918, she is hit in a boiler room and engine room by bombs. OKIKAWA MARU is setafire and stranded.

Three gunners and about five sailors are KIA. The rest of the crew abandons ship. OKIKAWA MARU sinks at 12-01.10N, 119-58.07E. After the attack, the ship’s burning forecastle is still visible.

Flying boat tender AKITSUSHIMA, fleet food ship IRAKO and OLYMPIA, EKKAI, KYOKUZAN and KOGYO MARUs and smaller ships are also sunk during the raid.

9 October 1944:
Another TF 38 air group strikes Coron Bay again. The planes finish off OKIGAWA MARU’s hulk. She comes to rest upright in about 85 feet/26m of water. [3]

10 November 1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Authors’ Note:
[1] OKIKAWA MARU was also known as OKIGAWA MARU.

[2] The Japanese used the phonetic Katakana syllabary to describe place names for most locations outside of Japanese territory and China. In most cases these Katakana names were phonetic representations of original English, Spanish, Dutch, Malay and Indonesian names. In some cases, the Bahasa Indonesia rendering of the name was different from the Colonial Dutch rendering of the same name. After Indonesia's independence from the Netherlands there were a number of name changes with Dutch and Anglo names excised. Thus, the noted locations given in the TROM are speculative at best. The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Erich Muehlthaler of Germany in this task.

[3] Uncertainty surrounds the final fate of OKIKAWA MARU. Although most sources report the ship as sunk at Coron and a wreck of the right size has been found, doubts still remain for some. For example, Senji Yuso Sendan Shi does not list OKIKAWA MARU as part of the Taihi convoy, but does list 2TL tanker TAIEI MARU. A photo taken by TG 38.3 prior to attack on shipping off Busuanga Island clearly shows a 2TL tanker- almost certainly TAIEI MARU - in the Tangat area, east of where the wreck of a large tanker was found. OKIKAWA MARU probably refuelled SATSUKI on 21 September immediately prior to the latter's sinking. SATSUKI's wreck is unlocated on the wreck map of Manila and probably lays between Manila (present day south harbor) outside the breakwater and Cavite. The possibility exists that OKIKAWA MARU was sunk nearby.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall


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