KAKYAKUSEN

TEIBI MARU (ex-BERNARDIN DE ST PIERRE)

Transport TEIBI MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement

© 2009-2015 Bob Hackett, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.
Revision 2


1924:
Bremerhaven (now Wesermünde), Germany. Laid down as a 10,086 ton passenger-cargo ship at J. C. Tecklenborg AG shipyard for Messageries Maritimes of France as a reparation vessel under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

2 September 1925:
Launched and named BERNARDIN DE ST PIERRE.

September 1926:
Completed and equipped with elevators.

11 November 1926:
Departs Marseilles, France on her maiden voyage to Madagascar, Africa and the Indian Ocean.

30 March 1930:
Port Said, Egypt. 20,000-ton British steamer OTRANTO collides with BERNARDIN DE ST PIERRE, but she is only slightly damaged.

21 December 1932:
Marseilles. ST PIERRE is in a stern-to-stern collision with Spanish steamer NAVEMAR.

1936:
Assigned to the Marseilles–French Indochina route.

1939:
Assigned to the Madagascar-West Africa route.

3 September 1939-World War II Begins:
After the German invasion of Poland, Britain and France declare war on Nazi Germany. ST PIERRE is at Dakar, Senegal. Departs for Cape Town.

17 September 1939:
Arrives at Capetown, Union of South Africa from Dakar.

25 June 1940: Franco-German Armistice:
In port at Tamatave (now Toamasina) Madagascar. After the Armistice, ST PIERRE becomes part of the Vichy fleet.

December 1940 to June 1942:
Serves on the Saigon-Shanghai-Manila route.

February 1941:
Cruises from Madagascar to Saigon. Assigned to the Saigon-Shanghai-Manila route.

Spring 1941:
Shanghai. ST PIERRE’s boilers are converted to burn coal from Campha (Along Bay).

29 July 1941:
Under the Franco-Japanese "common defence" agreement signed at Vichy by Deputy-Premier Admiral Darlan and Japanese Ambassador Kato, Indo-China is "integrated" in "common defence" and the Japanese are allowed to use Saigon as an advance base for operations in South-East Asia.

December 1941:
ST PIERRE carries some American citizens from Shanghai and Hankow, China to Manila, Philippines.

8 December 1941: The War in the Pacific Begins:
ST PIERRE is at Campha, Indochina.

December 1941-January 1942:
At Haiphong, Indochina.

January 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

April 1942:
Requisitioned by the Japanese Government under the Right of Angary.[1]

1 June 1942:
Chartered by Teikoku Senpaku Kaisha (Imperial Steamship Co.), wholly owned by the Japanese Government. Renamed TEIBI MARU and managed by the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (O.S.K.) Line. Considered for conversion to a hospital ship, but because of her complex cabin arrangement, is instead used as a transport. Assigned signal letters JKFR.

15 June 1942:
Charter rates are agreed upon between the Japanese and the Vichy French-Indochina Navy. TEIBI MARU’s rate is 96,816 Japanese Yen per month.

June 1942-May 1943:
Carries military officers and civilians, but not troops, to and from Japan and Singapore.

20 October 1942:
Signal letters changed to JKER. Assigned Imperial Army (IJA) ship number 837.

26 March 1943:
Departs Ujina.

5 April 1943:
Arrives at Manila

22 April 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

May 1943:
Released by the IJA. Assigned to carry civilians and non-military cargo on the Singapore-Saigon-Takao route.

18 May 1943:
Departs Kobe and later that day arrives at Osaka.

20 May 1943:
Departs Osaka.

21 May 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

23 May 1943:
Departs Moji

28 May 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

2 June 1943:
Departs Takao in convoy No. 396 also consisting of tanker SHOYO MARU, transports HAVRE and MANSHU MARUs and four unidentified merchant ships escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOJUSAN MARU.

9 June 1943:
Arrives at Saigon.

20 June 1943:
Departs Saigon.

24 June 1943:
At 1200, TEIBI MARU departs St Jacques in a convoy also consisting of HOTEN, ATLAS (one source says SUMATRA MARU (ex-British tanker SUMATRA) and AKASHI MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-21.

27 June 1943:
At 1900, arrives at Singapore.

4 July 1943:
Departs Singapore escorting convoy No. 602 also consisting of FUKUYO and HITORA MARUs and seven unidentified merchant ships escorted by old destroyer WAKATAKE. The convoy separates into two parts shortly after sailing. TEIBI, FUKUYO and HITORA (ex-Panamanian RAMONA) MARUs are part of the second section.

7 July 1943:
At 1300, the second section arrives at St Jacques.

14 July 1943:
Departs Saigon

21 July 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

23 July 1943:
Departs Takao in convoy No. 285 also consisting of HAWAII, ROKUSAN, JOGU MARUs and five unidentified merchant ships escorted by an unidentified escort.

28 July 1943:
Arrives at Moji and departs later that day.

29 July 1943:
Arrives at Kobe.

8 August 1943:
Departs Kobe.

9 August 1943:
Arrives at Moji.

10 August 1943:
Departs Moji in convoy No. 185 also consisting of TACHIBANA, KACHIDOKI (ex US -PRESIDENT HARRISON), TONAN, GINYO, ASUKA, SAN RAMON, NICHIRIN, YAMAMIZU and MATSUMOTO MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by Kaibokan SADO.

15 August 1943:
Arrives at Takao.

20 August 1943:
Departs Takao.

29 September 1943:
Departs Saigon.

7 October 1943:
Arrives at Saigon.

8 October 1943:
At 1300, TEIBI MARU departs St Jacques in convoy No. 432 also consisting of KENEI and ISUZUGAWA MARUs with auxiliary gunboat KANAN MARU as escort. TEIBI MARU carries 254 passengers and 4,289 tons of freight.

10 October 1943:
At about 1043 (H), lookouts aboard LtCdr (later Cdr) Thomas W. Hogan’s (USNA ’31) USS BONEFISH SS-223 spot the smoke of a convoy at about 12 miles through the high periscope. USS BONEFISH begins tracking on the surface.

At 1210 (H), the convoy is determined to consist of five ships. At 1402 (H) Hogan fires a spread of four torpedoes - his last - at two ships in the convoy making 8.5 knots. ISUZUGAWA MARU carrying 7,000-tons of rice, is hit and sinks. Two crewmen and two passengers are KIA. TEIBI MARU is hit by two torpedoes. One is a dud, but the second explodes in hold No. 5 blowing off hatch covers and cargo onto deck. The propellors and rudder are smashed and water from the shaft tunnel enters the engine room. Six passengers and 8 crewmen are KIA. The ship was also carrying 70 mail bags and 92 urns of war dead.

The escort forces USS BONEFISH deep and depth-charge her for two hours, dropping about three dozen DCs but doing no damage. With all his torpedoes expended, Hogan turns back to Fremantle. TEIBI MARU’s captain manages to beach her on the Mysury coast at 14-40, 110-12E. After beaching, TEIBI MARU sinks by the stern.


Authors' Note:
[1] In international law, the Right of Angary is the right of belligerents to requisition for their use neutral merchant vessels, aircraft, and other means of transport that are within their territorial jurisdiction. Generally, the Right of Angary should be applied only in case of pressing need in time of war, and compensation is due to the neutral owner. The Right of Angary has come to be extended to cover not only land and sea transport, but also any kind of neutral property under the jurisdiction of a belligerent.

Bob Hackett, Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.


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