(SHINSEI MARU No. 1, prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2013-2014 Bob Hackett
Revision 1

17 December 1918:
Kobe. Laid down at Kawasaki Dockyard Co., Ltd. as Yard No. 436, a 5,864-ton passenger-cargo ship.

15 February 1919:
Launched and named WASHINGTON MARU.

5 March 1919:

1 February 1920:
Sold to Kokusai Kisen K. K., Kobe.

3 February 1933:
Sold to Hara Shoji K. K., Osaka.

14 February 1933:
Renamed SHINSEI MARU No. 1.

30 January 1934:
Arrives at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

1 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army (IJA) and converted to a troop transport. Allotted IJA ship No. 416.

13 December 1941 - Operation “E” – The Invasion of Malaya:
At 0830, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Camranh Bay, Indochina in the IJA 5th Infantry Division Transportation Movement in TransDiv3 with CHIFUKU, FUSO, NAGANO, SHINKAHA and SHIRAHA MARUs.

16 December 1941:
Arrives at Singora, Siam (now Songhkla, Thailand)

21 December 1942: No. 6 Go Transportation Operation: Convoy No. 35 assembles at Shanghai to transport the IJA’s 6th Infantry Division via Truk to Guadalcanal (after the decision is made to evacuate Guadalcanal, the convoy’s destination is changed to New Guinea). The convoy consists of troop convoy Parts A, B and C.

Part A departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of SHINSEI MARU No. 1 MYOHO and TEIYO MARUs escorted by destroyer HASU. Part B departs Shanghai for New Guinea consisting of KENKON, KYOKUSEI, OIGAWA and PANAMA MARUs escorted by destroyer KURI.

25 December 1942:
Part C departs Shanghai consisting of MEIU, SHINAI, SOMEDONO, and SURABAYA MARUs escorted by destroyer TSUGA.

5 January 1943:
Parts A and B arrive at Mako, Pescadores. The old China Area Fleet second-class destroyers are detached and replaced by the Southwest Area Fleet’s destroyers HOKAZE and NAGATSUKI tasked to escort the convoy to 136 degrees E longitude. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIRAYUKI, subchasers CH-2 and CH-11 and auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2.

15 January 1943:
Part A departs Truk for the Shortland Islands anchorage. The escort is further augmented by destroyer SHIGURE.

17 January 1943:
Part B departs Truk for Buin, Bougainville.

19 January 1943:
Part C departs Truk. NNE of Buin, Bougainville, LtCdr Jack H. Lewis’ USS SWORDFISH (SS-193) attacks Part A of the convoy. SWORDFISH sinks MYOHO MARU at 05-38S, 156-20E. Of the 922 IJA troops and 35 Navy passengers she was carrying, 61 and 3 crewmen are KIA.

20 January 1943:
286 miles from Truk. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Creed C. Burlingame’s USS SILVERSIDES (SS-236) attacks Part C of the convoy. SILVERSIDES sinks MEIU MARU and damages heavily SURABAYA MARU at 03-52N, 153-56E. MEIU MARU was carrying 2,997 men of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 6th Division. 401 men are KIA. CH-11 and gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2 rescue survivors. Later, destroyer ASAGUMO arrives from Truk and scuttles SURABAYA MARU. The same day, Part A arrives at Shortland Islands anchorage.

6 March 1943:
At 1430, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Palau in convoy "Hansa No. 1" also consisting of ASO, MOMOYAMA, OYO, SYDNEY, TEIRYU, and YASUJIMA MARUs escorted by destroyers AKIGUMO, KAZEGUMO, SAMIDARE, SATSUKI and YUGUMO. The convoy is carrying elements of the 20th Division, air units such as airfield battalions and field airfield construction units, 37th, 38th, 40th, 44th Road Construction Units, and 3rd Field Searchlight Co

12 March 1943:
Arrives at 0503, arrives at Hansa Bay (near Madang), Eastern New Guinea.

13 March 1943:
Departs Hansa Bay.

18 March 1943:
Arrives Takao.

6 April 1943:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Palau for Wewak in convoy “Wewak No. 2” also consisting of UGO MARU accompanied by MYOKO MARU. SHINSEI MARU No. 1 carries men of the IJA 20th Division.

26 April 1943:
At 0830, SHINSEI MARU No. 1, departs Palau in convoy "Wewak No. 3" also consisting of BUNZAN, HANKOW and HOFUKU MARUs and HAKUTETSU,MARU No. 13 and SAN FRANCISCO MARU escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE and subchasers CH-26 and CH-34. The ships are carrying 6,000 soldiers of the 41st Infantry Division, elements of the 237th Infantry and 239th Infantry, ammunition, provisions, aircraft and supplies.

30 April 1943:
At 2205, SAN FRANCISCO MARU and CH-34 are detached and head for nearby Kairiru Island.

1 May 1943:
SAN FRANCISCO MARU and CH-34 depart Kairiru Island and join the ships returning from Wewak. Arrives at Wewak

6 May 1943:
At 0630 arrives at Palau.

23 May 1943:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Palau for Hansa Bay, New Guinea in troop convoy “Hansa No. 3” also consisting of DENMARK, HOFUKU and SHINYU MARUs and HAKUTETSU MARU No. 13 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE. The convoy carries elements of the IJA 20th Division and 18th Army units.

29 May 1943:
Arrives at Hansa Bay.

4 June 1943:
Arrives at Palau.

5 July 1943:
At 1300, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Palau for Wewak in convoy "Wewak No. 6" also consisting of BENGAL, MAYA and TOHO MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 escorted by destroyers AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE and minelayer SHIRATAKA. The convoy carries units of the IJA 41st Division. On the return voyage, URAKAZE tows disabled TOHO MARU back to Palau.

10 July 1943:
At 0130, arrives at Wewak. At 2300, the convoy departs except for MAYA and TOHO MARUs and AMATSUKAZE. Later, they catch up with the convoy. At 2250, TOHO MARU experiences engine difficulty and drops behind. URAKAZE takes her under tow.

16 July 1943:
A 1620, arrives at Palau.

17 July 1943:
A 0600, AMATSUKAZE and URAKAZE and TOHO MARU arrive at Palau.

2 August 1943:
At 1300, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Palau in convoy "Hansa No. 6" also consisting of BENGAL, DAIFUKU (TAIFUKU) and MAYA MARUs and YOSHIDA MARU No. 3 escorted by minelayer SHIRATAKA and subchaser CH-34. The convoy is carrying 3,00 men of the IJA 20th Infantry Division, 100 horse and 100 heavy vehicles.

8 August 1943:
At 0800, arrives at Hansa Bay, New Guinea.

9 August 1943:
At 1200, three transports depart Hansa Bay for Palau escorted by SHIRATAKA. At 1500, the other two transports depart for Palau escorted by subchaser CH-34.

12 August 1943:
At 0625, the two sections of the convoy meet and join.

14 August 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Palau.

20 August 1943:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Palau for Manila in convoy 3216 also consisting of three unknown merchants escorted by destroyer SHIOKAZE.

20 August 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

30 August 1943:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Manila in convoy No. 3111 also consisting of MAEBASHI, TAIAN, TENCHO MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by destroyer KARUKAYA, but due to bad weather has to shelter in Manila Bay.

31 August 1943:
At 1800 (jst), convoy No. 3111 departs Manila Bay for Palau.

6 September 1943:
12 miles bearing 266 degrees from Palau. At about 1000, while approaching West Channel, Palau, a lookout on KARUKAYA sights four torpedo tracks fred by Cdr (later Captain) Slade D. Cutter's (USNA '35) USS SEAHORSE (SS-304) at 07-32N, 134-17E. No damage is sustained by the convoy.

18 October 1943:
At 1420, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Moji for Takao in convoy No. 107 also consisting of JINZAN, MANTAI, KENSEI, MURORAN, NITTATSU, NICHINAN, HOKOKU, KOHOKU and SHOEI MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 3 and tanker SAN PEDRO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-36.

24 October 1943:
Arrives at Takao and departs in Convoy No. 774.

28 October 1943:
Arrives at Manila

19 November 1943:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Manila in convoy No. 874 also consisting of HINODE, MURORAN, ROKKO, SHONAN, SHUNKO and TACHIBANA MARUs (6521 GRT) and one unidentified merchant initially escorted by auxiliary minesweeper CHOUN MARU No. 21, later joined by kaibokan ETOROFU.

24 November 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

16 January 1944:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Takao in convoy No. 235 also consisting of BOKO (ex British SAGRES), FUJIKAWA, HAMBURG, HORAI, KUMAGAWA, MISAKI, NICHIREI and RIZAN MARUs escorted by destroyer KURETAKE.

23 January 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

3 March 1944:

4 March 1944:
Arrives at Moji and departs.

8 March 1944:
Arrives at Tokyo Bay.

12 March 1944:
At 0400, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Tokyo in convoy Higashi Matsu (“East Pine”) No. 2" also consisting of ATLANTIC, AWA, DAITEN, HIBI, KOKUYO, KYOSAI, MIHO, TAJIMA, RYUKA, TAKAOKA, TAMAHOKO and TSUSHIMA MARUs escorted by light cruiser TATSUTA, destroyers ASAKAZE, NOWAKI YUNAGI and UZUKI, kaibokan HIRADO and minelayer SOKUTEN.

SHINSEI MARU No. 1 carries men of the 8th Infantry Group Hq, 8th Div, 1st Bn, 5th Infantry, 8th Div, 1st Bn, 17th Infantry, 8th Div, 3rd Bn, 31st Infantry, 8th Div (587 men), 3rd Bn, 8th Artillery, 8th Div.

13 March 1944:
40 miles NNE of Hachijo-jima. At 0310, LtCdr Malcom E. Garrison's new USS SAND LANCE (SS-381) sets up and fires four stern torpedoes at the convoy. Two hit and sink cruiser TATSUTA at 32-52N 139-12E. The other two hit and sink transport KOKUYO MARU carrying 1,029 troops.

SAND LANCE undergoes an 18-hour attack by the escorts. SAND LANCE, a thick-skinned BALAO-class, dives to 550-feet and escapes 105 depth charges. Minesweeper W-20 is ordered to the area of the sinking.

19 March 1944:
At 1400, arrives at Saipan.

20 March 1944:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs.

23 March 1944:
Arrives at Engebi, Marshalls. Disembarks 3rd Expeditionary Unit.

E 24 March 1944:
Departs Marshalls.

E 4 April 1944:
Arrives at Tokyo Bay.

1 May 1944:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Moji in convoy MI-03 also consisting of KOTOKU, SHINNO, SHOHEI, SHUNTEN, NIKKO, ETAJIMA, CHIYODA, DAIJUN, DAITEN, HIYORI, HIOKI, KANKYO, TOUN, TAISEI, RYUKA and ZUIYO, MARUs and EIYO MARU No. 2, OGURA MARU No. 2 and UNKAI MARU No. 5 escorted by destroyers KARUKAYA and SHIOKAZE, torpedo boat HATO, kaibokan CD-1, CD-13, subchaser CH-37 and auxiliary gunboat PEKING MARU.

SHINSEI MARU No. 1 carries men of the IJA 125th Field Airfield Construction Unit.

9 May 1944:
KURAHASHI joins the escort.

10 May 1944:
The convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) James C. Dempsey’s (USNA ’31) USS COD (SS-224). In a series of attacks destroyer KARUKAYA and SHOHEI MARU are sunk in 15-38N, 119-32E. The auxiliary transport SHOHEI MARU was carrying with 850 passengers, depth charges, mines, guns and ammunition. Eight crewmen and 12 passengers are KIA.

11 May 1944:
Arrives at Manila, Philippines.

12 May 1944:
Departs Manila in Convoy H-26 carrying Army air support elements.

23 May 1944:
Arrives at Halmahera, Moluccas.

30 May 1944:
At 1810, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Wasile, Halmahera for Zamboanga, Mindanao in a convoy also consisting of ETAJIMA, KURAMASAN, ROKKO, TAIYU and TOUN MARUs escorted by minelayer AOTAKA and minesweeper W-4.

2 June 1944:
At 1810, arrives at Zamboanga.

7 June 1944:
At 0200, departs Zamboanga and arrives at Davao at 2000.

10 June 1944:
At 0600, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Davao escorted by subchaser CH-26 and minesweeper W-4.

13 June 1944:
At 1500, arrives at Kau, Halmahera.

26 July 1944:
At 0600, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Imari Wan (Bay) in convoy MI-13 also consisting of cargo ships ATLAS, CHINA, DURBAN, HIGANE, HIYORI, KIZAN, KOKUSEI, KUNIYAMA, MATSUURA, RISSHUN, SHIROTAE and URAL, MARUs and tankers SHINCHO, TEIKON (ex-German WINNETOU), TOKUWA, KYOEI and ATAGO MARUs and OGURA MARU No. 2 escorted by kaibokan MATSUWA, CD-14, patrol boat P-38, minesweeper W-18, auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3, auxiliary gunboat CHOHAKUSAN MARU and auxiliary patrol boats EIFU, FUYO, KASUGA and NUNOBIKI MARUs.

27 July 1944:
CHINA MARU suffers engine trouble and drops out of convoy. The auxiliary minesweeper TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 escorts the ship back to Imari Wan.

31 July 1944:
The convoy arrives at Takao. SHIROTAE and MATSUURA MARUs are detached and tankers SHIMPO and ZUIYO MARUs and cargo ship SHINKO MARU join the convoy. CHOHAKUSAN MARU is detached from the escort and replaced by destroyer ASAKAZE and kaibokan KUSAGAKI and YASHIRO. Naval Transport T. 3 also joins.

4 August 1944:
At 0830, the reconstituted convoy departs Takao.

7 August 1944:
At 2205, LtCdr (later Captain) Enrique D. Haskin's USS GUITARRO (SS-363) torpedoes and sinks kaibokan KUSAGAKI at 14-50N, 119-57E.

8 August 1944:
At 0900, the convoy arrives at Manila. DURBAN, KIZAN, RISSHUN, KUNIYAMA, SHINKO and ATLAS MARUs are detached. SHOEI MARU joins the convoy. All of the escorts are detached except CD-14, patrol boat PB-38 and subchasers CH-30 and CH-33.

11 August 1944:
At 2100, the convoy departs Manila for Miri.

12 August 1944:
At 0730, LtCdr Frank G. Selby’s USS PUFFER (SS-268) torpedoes and damages SHINPO MARU. 20 crewmen are KIA.

SHINPO MARU is taken under tow by SHOEI and KYOEI MARUs, beached, then abandoned. Selby also torpedoes and sinks TEIKON MARU (ex-German WINNETOU) at 13-18N 120-11E, but there are no casualties. CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38 drop 37 depth charges, but PUFFER escapes.

18 August 1944:
At 1700, the convoy arrives at Miri.

19 August 1944:
SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Miri in convoy MISHI-07 also consisting of HIGANE, KOKUSEI, HIYORI (NICHIWA), SHINCHO, SHOEI and URAL MARUs and SHINSEI MARU No. 1and tanker KYOEI MARU escorted by kaibokan CD-14 and patrol boat PB-38.

21 August 1944:
Arrives at Kuching, (Sarawak), Borneo to shelter after an unsuccessful torpedo attack on MISHI-07.

24 August 1944:
Departs Kuching.

25 August 1944:
Arrives at Miri, Borneo.

5 September 1944:
At 1300, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Singapore for Miri, Borneo in convoy SHIMI-10 also consisting of HOKKI, TATSUHARU TENSHIN, SHOEI, OMINE, KYOEI and IMAHARU (ex Dutch De KLERK) and URAL, MARUs and KYOEI MARU No. 6 and NANSHIN MARU No. 18 escorted by auxiliary minesweepers CHOUN MARU No. 6, CHOUN MARU No. 7 and TOSHI MARU No. 2.

8 September 1944:
At 0530, arrives at Kuching, Borneo.

9 September 1944:
Departs at midnight.

11 September 1944:
At 1230, arrives at Miri.

15 September 1944:
At 1500, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Miri for Manila, Philippines in convoy MIMA-11 also consisting of fleet oiler KAMOI and IMAHARU (ex-Dutch De KLERK), HOKKI, KYOEI, KYOKUHO, SHIKISAN, SHOEI, TACHIBANA, TATSUHARU, TENSHIN, OMINE, URAL and ZUIYO MARUs, YAMAMIZU No. 2 and KYOEI MARU No. 6 escorted by kaibokan CD-8, CD-25 and CD-32 and subchaser CH-28. The convoy hugs the coast calling at various small anchorages. That same day, arrives at Guimaras Bay, Philippines.

25 September 1944:
Departs North Palawan

27 September 1944:
At 0807, Cdr (later Rear Admiral) Rueben T. Whitaker's (USNA ’34) USS FLASHER (SS-249) torpedoes and damages TACHIBANA MARU at 15-45N, 117-20E. FLASHER also torpedoes and sinks URAL MARU at 15-32N, 117-16E. 144 passengers, 40 crewmen and five gunners are KIA. Survivors are picked up by ZUIYO MARU.

Two hours later, LtCdr Donald G. Baer's (USNA ’37) USS LAPON (SS-260) torpedoes HOKKI MARU at 15-50N, 117-41E. She catches fire and is abandoned. OMINE MARU takes her in tow, but she sinks at 15-50N, 117-41E. Two crewmen are KIA.

28 September 1944:
At 1000, the convoy arrives at Santa Cruz.

1 October 1944:
At 0700, departs Santa Cruz. At 1100, LtCdr William C. Thompson's (USNA '35) USS CABRILLA (SS-288) torpedoes and sinks ZUIYO MARU at 16-07N, 119-43E. At 1155, CABRILLA also torpedoes and sinks KYOKUHO MARU at 16-11N, 119-44E. 43 soldiers, nine guards and 69 crewmen are KIA.

2 October 1944:
Arrives at North San Fernando and is detached from MIMA-11

20 October 1944:
Arrives at Manila. At 2340, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 departs Manila for Takao in convoy MATA-30 also consisting of ARISAN, EIKO, DAITEN, FUYUKAWA, KIKUSUI, KIMIKAWA, KOKURYU, RYOFU, TENSHIN and SHIKISAN MARUs and fleet supply ship KURASAKI escorted by destroyers HARUKAZE, KURETAKE and TAKE and subchaser CH-20.

23 October 1944:
South China Sea, WNW of Cape Bojeador, Luzon, Philippines. About 1730 (JST), Cdr Alan B. Banister’s (USNA ’28) USS SAWFISH (SS-276) attacks ex-seaplane tender KIMIKAWA MARU carrying 300 passengers, bauxite, fuel oil, aviation gasoline and other items. Hit by four of five torpedoes, she sinks at 18-58N, 118-46E. 81 passengers and 24 crewmen are KIA.

24 October 1944:
The convoy comes under a combined wolfpack attack by five submarines. At 0050, SHINSEI MARU No. 1 is damaged by a dud torpedo at 19-32N, 118-37E.

At 0100, KOKURYU MARU, carrying 1357 passengers, is torpedoed and sunk at 19-42N, 118-38E, probably by LtCdr George H. Browne's (USNA ‘34) USS SNOOK (SS-279) or LtCdr Richard W. Peterson's (USNA ‘31) USS ICEFISH (SS-367). 324 passengers, 63 crewmen and five gunners are KIA.

At 0315, KIKUSUI MARU (ex-Dutch IRIS) is torpedoed and sunk by SNOOK at 19-46N, 118-30E. 12 crewmen are KIA.

At 0605, TENSHIN MARU, loaded with 6,250 tons of bauxite, is torpedoed twice and sunk either by SNOOK or LtCdr (KIA) Edward N. Blakely's (USNA ’34) USS SHARK (SS-314) or both, at 19-54N 119-00E. Five troops and 47 crewmen are KIA.

At 0758, SHIKISAN MARU is torpedoed by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Maurice H. Rindskopf's (USNA ‘38) USS DRUM (SS-228) and sinks in 90 seconds at 20-27N, 118-31E. SHIKISAN MARU was carrying 3,300-tons of manganese, 3,000-tons of raw rubber and 1,500-tons of general cargo. 11 crewmen and four passengers are KIA.

Soon after, DAITEN MARU steaming in ballast, is also torpedoed and sunk by LtCdr James H. Ashley's (USNA ‘34) USS SEADRAGON (SS-194) at 20-12N, 119-01E. Five men are KIA.

At 1225, straggling SHINSEI MARU No. 1 is torpedoed by SNOOK and sinks in three minutes at 20-31N, 118-42E. 10 crewmen and three gunners are KIA. EIKO MARU rescues about 100 survivors.

At 1405, EIKO MARU is torpedoed by SEADRAGON and sinks at 20-35N 118-32E. One crewman and three survivors of SHINSEI MARU No. 1 are KIA.

At 1730, ARISAN MARU, carrying 1,782 American prisoners-of-war (POWs), is torpedoed and sunk, probably by SHARK (sunk soon after by HARUKAZE and TAKE) at 20-00N, 118-44E. 1,773 POWs, 27 passengers, 13 gunners and 2 crewmen are KIA. Only nine American POWs survive.

Author's Note:
Thanks go to Erich Muehlthaler of Germany and John Whitman of Virginia.

-Bob Hackett

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