YUSOSEN!

(Prewar Dutch tanker TALANG AKAR later TANGO MARU)

IJN TANGO MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

2011-2013 Bob Hackett


27 March 1926:
Haverton Hill-on-Tees, England. Laid down as Yard Number 107 at Furness Ship Building Co. Ltd. as a 2,046 ton tanker for N.V. Nederlandsche Koloniale Petroleum Maatschappij of The Hague.

24 August 1926:
Launched and named TALANG AKAR.

October 1926:
Completed and registered in Batavia, Java.

1935:
Owner restyled as N.V. Nederlandsche Koloniale Tankvaart Maatschappij.

1942:
Java. The Dutch assign TALANG AKAR call letters PHWI.

2 March 1942:
Scuttled off Surabaya, Java.

1942:
Surabaya. Refloated and salved.

E 1943:
Requisitioned by the IJN. Repaired and reconditioned. Ownership is transferred to Teikoku Senpaku Kaisha, Ltd. (Imperial Steamship Co.) wholly owned by the Japanese government. Renamed TANGO MARU. Operated for the IJN by Mitsubishi Kisen, K. K. of Tokyo. Captain Nagayama Masaru (former captain of AITEN MARU) is captain of TANGO MARU.

30 September 1943:
Captain Katsumi Shigetaro relieves Captain Nagayama.

3 November 1943:
At 1800 (JST), TANGO MARU arrives at Balikpapan from Surabaya. Takes on a full load of heavy oil.

7 November 1943:
At 1800 (JST), departs Balikpapan for Davao, Mindanao, Philippines carrying 14 IJN passengers.

8 November 1943:
Makassar Straits, off Bali, Java. At 1655, LtCdr Edward S. Hutchinson, CO of USS RASHER (SS-269), is manning the periscope when he spots heavy black smoke at about 20,000 yards. As the range closes, Hutchinson identifies the target as an old-style tanker with a high stack aft riding high indicating she is in ballast. He fires a spread of three stern torpedoes.

TANGO MARU evades the first torpedo. The second torpedo hits portside amidships, but is a dud. The third torpedo hits the drinkwater tank at stern and explodes. The bulkhead between the drinkwater tank and the engine room collapses and the, engine room floods. Two minutes later, flooding reaches the propeller shaft. TANGO MARU settles by the stern. By 1705, only the upper part of deck is above water. Shortly afterwards. TANGO MARU sinks 45 km SE of Cape Labuanbini, Borneo at 00-25N, 119-45E. Captain Katsumi survives, but two IJN passengers and six Javaese (Indonesian) crew are MIA.[1][2]

Over the next hour, the sole escort, auxiliary subchaser CHa-41 drops 14 depth charges, but RASHER escapes by diving deep and slips away.

1944:
Removed from the Navy List.


Author's Note:
[1] Later, Captain Katsumi is again appointed captain of AITEN MARU at Singapore. On 15 Jul '45, he was relieved by Captain Tsunekichi Sato at Seletar Navy Yard.

[2] By an unusual coincidence, a second TANGO MARU, also a captured Dutch ship (former TOENJOEK) is sunk by RASHER, now under LtCdr Willard R. Laughon, on 25 February 1944. Thus, the same submarine sank the only two vessels of the same name, both of which had been captured from the Dutch.

Photo credit goes to Gilbert Casse of France and www.picturestockton.co.uk/viewpage.aspx?id=1

Thanks also go Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Bob Hackett


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