ZATSUYOSEN!

(RISUI MARU ex-British LIPIS in wartime)

IJN RISUI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2015 Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall


E 1926:
Greenock, Scotland. Laid down by Scotts' Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd, as a 845-tons cargo ship for Straits Steamship Co. Ltd., Singapore.

1 March 1927:
Launched and named LIPIS.

24 March 1927:
Completed and registered at Singapore, Malaya with Official Number (ON): 154210, call sign: KVRW, Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT): 845-tons and Net Registered Tonnage (NRT) 461-tons. [1]

1934:
Call sign is changed to VSNL.

1938:
Sungei Dockyard, Malaya. Converted to a Motor Vessel (MV). Her GRT and NRT are respectively changed to 914-tons and 493-tons. [1]

13 November 1939:
Requisitioned by the British Admiralty as an auxiliary patrol boat. Released to her owners at unknown date.

1941:
Her owners are restyled Singapore Straits Steamship Co. Ltd. Departs Kuching, Malaya.

December 1941:
Requisitioned again by the British Admiralty and renamed HMS LIPIS.

13 December 1941:
Sustains an airstrike without damage.

February 1942:
Miri, Sarawak, British North Borneo. Attacked by Japanese aircraft but sustains no damage and escapes to Singapore.

11 February 1942:
Sultan Shoal, near Singapore. Attacked by Japanese aircraft and abandoned on fire with steering gear failure.

28 July 1942:
Wrecked seized by IJN troops.

30 July 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 August 1943:
Claimed by Yokosuka Prize Court.

30 September 1943:
Officially allotted to Yokosuka Prize Court with No. 1942/71.

1943:
Renamed RISUI MARU. Call sign is changed to JWYY.

31 October 1943:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport attached to the Yokosuka Naval District with Yokosuka as home port under Navy’s instruction No. 2248.

1943:
Assigned to Vice Admiral (later Admiral) Takasu Shiro‘s (35) Southwest Area Fleet as an auxiliary transport (Otsu) category. [2]

28 November 1943:
Singapore. Conversion to military duty is completed by the 101st Naval Construction Unit.

21 May 1944:
Departs Singapore in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary storeship KUMANO MARU escorted by subchaser CH-7 and auxiliary subchasers CHa-50 and CHa-70 and arrives at Port Swettenham (now Port Klang), Malaya later that day.

27 May 1944:
At 1820, departs Port Swettenham and arrives at Penang, Malaya later that same day.

28 May 1944:
The convoy departs Penang.

At 0840, Lt. Thomas G. Ridgeway’s HMS TEMPLAR (P316) according to patrol report: “In position 04°18'N, 100°18'E sight two merchant ships escorted by two trawlers and one submarine chaser. Bearing 160°, range about 5000 yards, course 340°, speed 9 knots. Start attack. At 0852, fires three stern torpedoes from 2400 yards resulting in one hit. The target is later seen to be standing vertically on end in 180 feet of water. HMS TEMPLAR is hunted and depth charged following the attack. 18 Depth charges in all are dropped but these do no damage.”

KUMANO MARU is torpedoed and sunk in 04-02N 100-17E, taking down nine crewmen.

18 June 1944:
Departs Penang for Sabang, Malaya.

17 July 1944:
Departs Lingam, Malaya.

18 July 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

19 August 1944:
Assigned to the following transport mission under Southwest Area Fleet instruction No. 134: Departure Singapore escorted by subchaser CH-8 and minesweeper W-34 for Sabang to load empty drums and arrival back at Singapore.

August 1944:
Departs Singapore escorted by subchaser CH-8.

25 August 1944:
At 1245, meets up with minesweeper W-34. At 1845, W-34 drops depth-charges (DCs) at position 02-58N, 100-18E.

28 August 1944:
Arrives at Sabang.

29 August 1944:
At 1200, departs Sabang escorted by subchaser CH-8 and minesweeper W-34.

31 August 1944:
At 2030, subchaser CH-8 ends escort. At 2400, minesweeper W-34 end escort.

1 September 1944:
Arrives at Singapore.

7 November 1944:
At 0752, departs Singapore escorted by subchaser CH-35.

12 November 1944:
At 0940, arrives at Car Nicobar.

14 November 1944:
At 2110, departs Car Nicobar escorted by subchaser CH-35.

18 November 1944:
At 1713, arrives at Port Swettenham.

26 December 1944:
Assigned to the following transport mission under Southwest Area Fleet instruction No. 209: departure Singapore 28 Dec ’44 for Port Blair and Car Nicobar, Andamans with troops and related equipment, and arrival back to Singapore.

28 December 1944:
At 1751, departs Singapore escorted by subchasers CH-7 and CH-9 and auxiliary subchaser KYO MARU No. 1.

3 January 1945:
At 2107, arrives at Port Blair.

6 January 1945:
At 0931, departs Port Blair escorted by subchasers CH-7, CH-9 and CH-34.

7 January 1945:
At 1130, arrives at Car Nicobar. CH-34 is detached and the rest of the convoy departs there at 2102.

12 January 1945:
At 1130, arrives at Penang.

23 March 1945:
Departs Penang in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary storeship TESHIO MARU escorted by subchasers CH-34 and CH-63, carrying food and supplies for the Andaman and Nicobar garrisons. The convoy's initial destination is Port Blair then Car Nicobar.

25 March 1945:
E of Khota Andaman, about 135 nautical miles SE of Port Blair. At 1030, the convoy is intercepted by Captain (later Admiral Sir) Manley L. Power's 26th Destroyer Flotilla consisting of destroyers HMS SAUMAREZ, HMS VIRAGO, HMS VIGILANT and HMS VOLAGE. At 1059, the destroyers open fire on the convoy with gunfire and launch eight torpedoes, all of which miss.

The undamaged convoy makes for the southwest. At 1129, Captain Powers radios for air support. Two RAF Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” bombers soon arrive and in a low-level bombing attack sink TESHIO MARU taking down 11 crewmen, but one B-24 is caught in the blast of its own bombs and crashes into the sea.

At 1150, the 26th Destroyer Flotilla renews its attack on the convoy. HMS VOLAGE sinks RISUI MARU at 10-38N, 94-42E, with 21 crewmen KIA. HMS SAUMAREZ rescues the B-24's crew. At 1230, HMS VIRAGO and HMS VIGILANT open fire at long range on CH-34 and CH-63. HMS VIGILANT closes and fires eight torpedoes at the subchasers, one of which hits and sinks CH-63 with unknown casualties.

CH-34 fights back against HMS VIRAGO and HMS VIGILANT and manages to score a hit on HMS VIGILANT, but at 1630, CH-34 goes down under the guns of the British destroyers at 10-38N, 94-42E with unknown casualties.

25 May 1945:
Removed from the IJN Navy’s list under instruction No. 471.


Authors' Notes :
[1] NRT is a ship's cargo volume capacity expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83 m3). It is calculated by reducing non-revenue-earning spaces i.e. spaces not available for carrying cargo, for example engine rooms, fuel tanks and crew quarters, from the ship's gross register tonnage (GRT). Net register tonnage (NRT) is not a measure of the weight of the ship or its cargo, and should not be confused with terms such as deadweight tonnage or displacement.

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

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.

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