SAN RAMON MARU prewar as a Mitsubishi Shoji tanker

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2008-2017 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 7

4 February 1935:
Tokyo. Laid down at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard for Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha.

15 September 1935:
Launched and named SAN RAMON MARU.

20 November 1935:

In Mitsubishi’s service. Engages in transportation of oil between California and Japan.

23 December 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

26 December 1941:
Departs Kure.

29 December 1941:
Arrives at Mako.

1 January 1942:
Departs Mako.

4 January 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

14 January 1942:
Departs Kure.

15 January 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

16 January 1942:
Departs Moji.

21 January 1942:
Arrives at Saipan.

13 February 1942:
Departs Kure.

23 February 1942:
Arrives at the Anambas Islands.

22 March 1942:
Departs Kure.

24 March 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

28 March 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

2 April 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

5 April 1942:
Departs Mako, Pescadores.

9 April 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

16 April 1942:
Departs Kure.

21 April 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

23 April 1942:
Departs Mako.

E 27 April 1942:
Arrives at Tarakan.

10 May 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

15 May 1942:
Departs Yokohama.

22 June 1942:
Arrives at Takao, Formosa (Taiwan).

23 June 1942:
Departs Takao.

26 July 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

28 July 1942:
Departs Mako.

3 August 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

4 September 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

18 September 1942:
While sailing with TANGO MARU an enemy submarine is sighted near Danjo Gunto and avoided.

20 September 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

23 September 1942:
Departs Mako.

29 October 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

30 October 1942:
Departs Mako.

6 November 1942:
Arrives at Shimotsu.

9 November 1942:
Departs Shimotsu.

10 November 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama Naval Fuel Depot.

12 November 1942:
Departs Tokuyama.

15 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

28 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka.

29 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokkaichi.

1 December 1942:
Departs Yokkaichi.

3 December 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

5 December 1942:
Departs Moji.

10 December 1942:
Arrives at Mako.

12 December 1942:
Departs Mako.

9 January 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

13 January 1943:
Departs Mako.

19 January 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

22 January 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

24 January 1943:
Arrives at Sasebo.

26 January 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

2 March 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

5 March 1943:
Departs Mako.

15 March 1943:
Arrives at Yokohama.

26 March 1943:
Departs Yokohama.

28 March 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

1 April 1943:
Departs Tokuyama.

4 April 1943:
Departs Ominato, Honshu.

9 April 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro, Kuriles.

4 May 1943:
Departs Paramushiro.

8 May 1943:
Arrives at Ominato.

13 May 1943:
Departs Ominato.

16 May 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

19 May 1943:
Departs Kure.

26 May 1943:
Arrives at Paramushiro.

4 June 1943:
At 1200 departs Paramushiro.

10 June 1943:
At 1900 arrives at Sasebo.

17 June 1943:
Departs Sasebo.

27 July 1943:
At 1200, arrives at Mako.

30 July 1943:
Departs Mako.

3 August 1943:
Arrives at Tokuyama.

7 August 1943:
Departs Tokuyama

10 August 1943:
At 1400, SAN RAMON MARU departs Moji in convoy No. 185 also consisting of tankers CHIYODA, TACHIBANA, MATSUMOTO, TONAN, YAMAMIZU and NICHIRIN MARUs passenger-cargo ships TEIBI (ex French BERNARDIN de ST PIERRE), KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and GINYO MARUs, cargo ship ASUKA MARU and one unidentified ship escorted by kaibokan SADO.

11 August 1943:
Off Nagasaki convoy No. 184 consisting of tankers FUSHIMI MARU No. 3, SHUNTEN MARU and one unidentified merchant ship without escort merges with the convoy.

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Mako, Pescadores.

18 August 1943:
Departs Mako for Singapore to load 12,300 kilolitres of crude oil in convoy No. 316 also consisting of tankers TACHIBANA, NICHIRIN, YAMAMIZU and TONAN MARUs, passenger-cargo ships KACHIDOKI (ex-PRESIDENT HARRISON) and GINYO MARUs, cargo ship ASUKA MARU and three unidentified ships.

21 August 1943:
The convoy now consists of eight ships, the three unidentified ships likely having detached for either Hong Kong or Hainan. At 1340 in position 15.24N 115-32E the convoy is attacked and three torpedoes narrowly miss GINYO MARU.

26 August 1943:
Arrives at Saigon.

1 September 1943:
SAN RAMON MARU is manned by an IJN crew. [1]

21 September 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

24 September 1943:
Departs Mako.

30 September 1943:
Arrives at Kudamatsu.

5 October 1943:
Departs Kudamatsu.

10 October 1943:
At 1505, SAN RAMON MARU departs Moji in convoy No. 105 consisting of TEIKAI (ex-German FULDA) , CHICAGO, AMERICA, GYOKUREI, MIKASA, HEIAN, NICHIEI and GYOTEN MARUs and tanker MITSU MARU escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE. CHICAGO MARU is carrying 1365 men from 1st Battalion, 37th Infantry, 4th Division, the 37th Infantry rapid fire artillery unit (antitank), the transporatation regiments headquarters and one company of trucks, and 1st Field Hospital, 4th Division; GYOTEN MARU carries the 3rd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division and AMERICA MARU carries the regimental headquarters, 8th Infantry, and 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, both 4th Division.

15 October 1943:
At 0110, LtCdr (later KIA) Charles F. Brindupke's (USNA ’32) USS TULLIBEE (SS-284) torpedoes and sinks CHICAGO MARU at 24-30N, 120-26E. 42 troops, one gunner and 8 crewmen are KIA. Over the next five hours, SAN RAMON MARU, NICHIEI and GYOKUREI MARUs rescue survivors. Later that day arrives at Takao.

At 2122, USN codebreakers intercept and decrypt a message that says CHICAGO MARU had aboard 1,304 men, elements of a field antiaircraft artillery battalion. [2]

4 November 1943:
SAN RAMON MARU departs Miri, Borneo bound for the Tokuyama Navy Oil Depot carrying a full load of crude oil.

November 1943:
Arrives at St. Jacques (near Saigon), Indochina.

November 1943:
Arrives at Mako.

November 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

21 November 1943:
SAN RAMON MARU departs Takao for Moji in convoy No. 221 consisting of TAKETOYO, CHILE, SHOYU, HIROTA and SEIWA MARUs and two unidentified ships escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

27 November 1943:
East China Sea, off Uki Jima, Goto Retto. At 0005, in a surface attack, LtCdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter’s (USNA ’35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) fires three bow torpedoes and gets one hit on SAN RAMON MARU carrying a full load of 10,600-tons of crude oil. At 0128, Cutter again attacks and hits SAN RAMON MARU with two of four stern torpedoes he fires. At about 0200, or earlier, SAN RAMON MARU sinks by the stern at 33-35N, 128-45E. 28 crewmen and three gunners are KIA. [3]

5 January 1944:
Removed from the Navy List:

Author's Notes:
[1] As distinct from a Navy requisitioned merchant tanker.

[2] A Japanese magazine news story says that seven torpedoes were fired, five evaded, two hit but did not explode.

[3] Japanese and American accounts of the sinking differ. SEAHORSE’s patrol report indicates Cutter attacked at 2302 and got two hits that broke SAN RAMON MARU in two. Witnesses on SEAHORSE’s bridge claimed the bow sank immediately, followed shortly by the stern. SEAHORSE’s patrol report further indicates that, at 0027, Cutter attacked and sank another tanker; however, postwar, this second sinking could not be substantiated.

Thanks go to John Whitman of the USA for info on CNO intercepts of Japanese messages, and Japanese units and to Mr. Gilbert Casse of France for general assistance.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Back to the Oilers Page