(RYOKAI MARU, prewar)

IJN/IJA RYOKAI MARU: Tabular Record of Movement

© 2014-2017 Bob Hackett

E 1910:
Laid down at Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Howdon as Yard Number 186, a 4220-ton cargo ship.

25 August 1911:
Launched and named ORISTANO.

October 1911:
Completed and sold to Gulf Line Ltd (Furness, Withy & Co., Ltd), West Hartlepool.

19 March 1917:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Cardiff, Wales.

22 May 1917:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Cardiff.

27 July 1917:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Cardiff.

6 October 1917:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Cardiff via Queenstown.

3 March 1919:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Hull, England.

6 April 1919:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Cardiff.

21 December 1919:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Fayal, Azores.

19 December 1920:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Le Havre, France and Havreo, Portugal.

10 May 1921:
Arrives at Ellis Island from the United States.

15 November 1921:
Arrives at Ellis Island from Hull, England.

Sold to T Yamamoto, Dairen, Manchuria. Renamed RYOKAI MARU.

Mindoro, Philippines. RYOKAI MARU is stranded on Panagatan Reef. Later, salvaged by the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. of Manila.

Sold to Yamamoto Kisen K.K. of Dairen, and Kobe, Japan.

25 February 1924:
RYOKAI MARU departs Singapore under charter to Osaka Shosen Kaisha K. K for Osaka and Kobe.

6 June 1933:
Singapore. Dry-docked at Keppel Harbor.

Sold to Nippon Godo Kisen K. K, Kobe.

Sold to Kyodo Gyogyo K. K, Kobe.

Sold to Nippon Suisan K. K, Kobe. Converted to a crab factory ship.

1937: Second Sino – Japanese War:
Chartered to the Imperial Army (IJA).

2 March 1938:
RYOKAI MARU departs Osaka in a convoy also consisting of AIDA, ASO, CHICAGO, JILIN, KOSOKU and MAYA MARUs and an unidentified ship. RYOKAI MARU is carrying part of the 14th Division's 1st battalion, 59th Infantry Regiment, 1/2 of the Infantry Gun Unit, 1/3 of the Mountain Gun Unit, 2nd Infantry Regiment and part of 20th Field Artillery Regiment and 14th Engineer Battalion.

6 March 1938:
Arrives at Wusung and departs.

8 March 1938:
Arrives at Shanghai.

18 March 1938:
RYOKAI MARU departs Wusung carrying the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 24th Mixed Brigade.

23 March 1938:
Arrives at Moji.

20 August 1939:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Navy (IJN) as a (B-AK) Ippan Choyosen.

21 May 1941:
Released back to her owners.

23 May 1941:
Singapore. The British Consulate lists a number of Japanese ships and tankers on Britain's shipping “Black List”, including RYOKAI MARU, suspected of provisioning andrefueling Nazi surface commerce raiders.

E 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) as a troop transport. Allotted IJA No. 578

8 December 1941:
The Pacific War begins.

2 December 1942: RYOKAI MARU departs Wada-Misaki, Kobe in convoy No. 32 also consisting of HIKOSAN, KOJUN, TSUKIKAWA, YAMAFUKU and ZUISHO MARUs and auxiliary transport HAKUTETSU MARU No. 7 escorted by destroyer OKIKAZE.

4 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

5 May 1943:
Released back to her owners.

15 August 1943:
Lookouts on Cdr Dudley W. Morton’s (USNA ’30) USS WAHOO (SS-238) pick up three freighters in column making 7 knots at 43-24N, 140-26E. At 0035, WAHOO fires one unreliable Mark 14-3A steam torpedo at the trailing ship, but there is no detonation.

22 August 1943:
RYOKAI MARU departs Suttu, Hokaido for Niigata carrying a cargo of salted fish.

Sea of Japan. At 1433, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Raymond H. Bass' (USNA '31) USS PLUNGER (SS-179) fires three torpedoes at RYOKAI MARU and gets three hits starboard side. One of the Mark 14-3A torpedoes is a dud, but the other two explode and within three minutes RYOKAI MARU sinks at 43-24N, 140-26E. Casualties are unknown.

Authors Notes:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

- Bob Hackett

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