(TOKAI prewar)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2011 Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

26 November 1929:
Nagasaki. Laid down by Mitsubishi Zosen K.K. Nagasaki Zosensho shipyard as the second of six diesel-driven high speed cargo ship, for Osaka Shosen K.K., Osaka

15 May 1930:
Launched and named TOKAI MARU. [1]

14 July 1930:
Completed and registered at Osaka. Her gross and net registered tonnages are respectively 8,365-tons and 5,046-tons.

E 1930:
TOKAI MARU is placed on O.S.K.’s Kobe Line ~ New York service via the Panama Canal.

Places of call are:

For the outbound leg: Philippines ~ Hong Kong ~ Kirun, Formosa (now Keelung, Taiwan) ~ Shanghai ~ Guangzhou ~ Kobe ~ Ise Wan (Bay) ~ Yokohama ~ Los Angeles ~ Cristobal, Panama ~ Puerto Colombia, Colombia ~ New York ~ Hampton Roads ~ Savannah.

For the inbound leg: Cristobal ~ Los Angeles ~ Yokohama ~ Osaka ~ Kobe ~ Dairen (now Dalian) ~ Shanghai ~ Hong Kong ~ Philippines.

20 August 1933:
TOKAI MARU runs aground in Kirun harbor’s entrance, off the lighthouse. Takes some water due to hull cracking.

21 August 1933:
TOKAI MARU is able to free herself. Probably undergoes temporary repairs.

E 1934:
Her gross and net registered tonnages are respectively changed for 8,359-tons and 5,047-tons.

10 July 1938:
Placed on European Lines: Kobe ~ New York.

E 1939:
Her net registered tonnage is changed for 5,038-tons.

July 1941:
In retaliation to Japan’s occupation of French Indochina, the United States closes the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping.

15 July 1941:
Departs Panama on her inbound voyage and steams to the Magellan Strait.

9 September 1941:
Ends her voyage and arrives in Japan.

12 October 1941:
Requisitioned by the IJN as a transport (Ippan Choyosen). [2]

20 October 1941:
Arrives at Kobe.

21 October 1941:
Departs Kobe. Calls later at Yokosuka and arrives at Shibaura, Tokyo at an unknown date.

8 November 1941:
Departs Shibaura for Truk, Carolines.

14 November 1941:
Arrives at Truk.

3 December 1941:
Departs Truk for Ponape, Carolines.

4 December 1941:
Arrives at Ponape.

2 January 1942:
Departs Ponape for Rota, Marianas.

5 January 1942:
Arrives at Rota.

9 January 1942:
Departs Rota for Yokosuka.

14 January 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka. Departs later and arrives that same day at Shibaura.

E January 1942:
Departs Shibaura and arrives at Yokosuka.

25 January 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Kwajalein, Marshalls.

1 February 1942:
Arrives at Kwajalein.

10 February 1942:
Departs Kwajalein for Wotje Atoll, Marshalls.

11 February 1942:
Arrives at Wotje.

16 February 1942:
Departs Wotje arriving that same day at Taroa Island, Marshalls.

22 February 1942:
Departs Taroa and arrives later in the day at Majuro Atoll, Marshalls.

25 February 1942:
Departs Majuro arriving that same day at Imieji anchorage, Jaluit Atoll, Marshalls.

1 March 1942:
Departs Imieji for Ponape.

3 March 1942:
Arrives at Ponape.

12 March 1942:
Departs Ponape for Moji.

20 March 1942:
Arrives at Moji. Departs later that day and arrives at Tokuyama, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Probably replenishes fuel tanks.

E March 1942:
Departs Tokuyama and arrives at Kure. Departs later for Sasebo.

2 April 1942:
Arrives at Sasebo. Departs that same day for Davao, Mindanao, Philippines.

7 April 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

8 April 1942:
Departs Davao for Surabaya, Java.

10 April 1942:
Registered in the IJN as an auxiliary transport under internal order No. 663 and attached to the Kure Naval District as an auxiliary transport, (Otsu) category. Her home port is Kure. [3]

13 April 1942:
Arrives at Surabaya.

22 April 1942:
Departs Surabaya for Davao.

27 April 1942:
Arrives at Davao.

30 April 1942:
Departs Davao for Hongay, Indochina (now Hong Gay, Vietnam).

6 May 1942:
Arrives at Hongay. Probably loads coal.

8 May 1942:
Departs Hongay and arrives that same day at Port Campha.

12 May 1942:
Departs Port Campha for Fushiki, Toyama Prefecture.

20 May 1942:
Arrives at Fushiki.

23 May 1942:
Departs Fushiki.

E May 1942:
Calls at Niigata and Muroran, Hokkaido. Departs later for Shibaura.

30 May 1942:
Arrives at Shibaura.

4 June 1942:
Departs Shibaura and arrives that same day at Yokosuka.

6 June 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Truk.

12 June 1942:
Arrives at Truk.

28 June 1942:
Departs Truk for Angaur, Palaus.

1 July 1942:
Arrives at Angaur. Departs and arrives that same day at Palau, Carolines.

4 July 1942:
Departs Palau and arrives at Angaur later that day.

8 July 1942:
Departs Angaur for Kobe.

13 July 1942:
Arrives at Kobe. Starts conversion to her military role.

1 August 1942:
The conversion is completed. Departs Kobe for Miike.

3 August 1942:
Arrives at Miike.

4 August 1942:
Departs Miike for Tokuyama.

5 August 1942:
Arrives at Tokuyama. Probably replenishes fuel tanks.

8 August 1942:
Departs Tokuyama for Osaka.

9 August 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

12 August 1942:
Departs Osaka for Takao.

16 August 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

19 August 1942:
Departs Takao for Singapore, Malaya.

24 August 1942:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 August 1942:
Departs Singapore for Saigon, Indochina (now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam).

28 August 1942:
Arrives at Saigon.

6 September 1942:
Departs Saigon for Takao.

10 September 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

13 September 1942:
Departs Takao for Osaka likely in convoy No.261 at least partway also consisting of TARUSHIMA and KAGU MARUs and two unidentified merchant ships escorted by the torpedo boat SAGI.

17 September 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

27 September 1942:
Departs Osaka for Maizuru.

29 September 1942:
Arrives at Maizuru.

2 October 1942:
Departs Maizuru for Gensan, Chosen (now Wonsan, N Korea).

3 October 1942:
Arrives at Gensan.

4 October 1942:
Departs Gensan.

5 October 1942:
Arrives at Moji.

6 October 1942:
Departs Moji for Takao possibly in convoy No.172 also consisting of three unidentified merchant ships escorted by the destroyer SANAE.

9 October 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

13 October 1942:
Departs Takao for Haiphong, Indochina.

16 October 1942:
Arrives at Haiphong.

23 October 1942:
Departs Haiphong for Port Campha.

24 October 1942:
Arrives at Port Campha.

28 October 1942:
Departs Port Campha for Takao.

31 October 1942:
Arrives at Takao.

1 November 1942:
Departs Takao and arrives that same day at Mako, Pescadores.

4 November 1942:
Departs Mako for Osaka in convoy No.286 also consisting of eight unidentified merchant ships escorted by the destroyer MINAZUKI.

9 November 1942:
Arrives at Osaka.

16 November 1942:
Departs Osaka arriving later in the day at Kobe.

19 November 1942:
Departs Kobe for Yokosuka.

20 November 1942:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

24 November 1942:
Departs Yokosuka for Muroran.

27 November 1942:
Arrives at Muroran.

30 November 1942:
Departs Muroran for Yokohama.

2 December 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

3 December 1942:
Departs Yokohama arriving that same day at Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture.

6 December 1942:
Departs Kawasaki for Kobe in Nishi (West) Convoy No.59 also consisting of HOZAN, SHANGHAI, YAMAZURU and MISHIMA MARUs escorted by subchaser CH-32.

8 December 1942:
Arrives at Kobe.

E 9-25 December 1942:
Docks at shipyard for maintenance and repairs.

26 December 1942:
Repairs are completed. Departs Kobe for Tokyo.

27 December 1942:
Arrives at Tokyo.

31 December 1942:
Departs Tokyo, transferring at Yokohama.

6 January 1943:
Departs Yokohama, transferring at Yokosuka.

11 January 1943:
Departs Yokosuka for Saipan, Marianas in convoy also consisting of HEIYO MARU.

16 January 1943:
Arrives at Saipan where TOKAI MARU is detached. HEIYO MARU proceeds alone to Truk and is torpedoed and sunk the following day with the loss of about 900 passengers, 44 crewmen and 4,000-tons of military equipment.

21 January 1943:
Departs Saipan. TOKAI MARU is to go to Guam to part discharge cargo, then Truk to full unload, then Palau to load bauxite.

26 January 1943:
Apra Harbor, Guam (renamed Omiya Island after its capture), Marianas. Afternoon, LtCdr (later Vice Admiral) Glynn R. Donaho’s (USNA ’27) USS FLYING FISH (SS-229) sights TOKAI MARU anchored in Apra Harbor. Donaho torpedoes the transport and scores two hits in position 13-27N, 144-37E. Only one crewman is KIA. TOKAI MARU takes a 40 degrees’ list. About 1803, the ship bottoms the harbor’s shallow waters, although her decks are still above water.

E February 1943:
TOKAI MARU’s cargo is transferred to auxiliary gunboat SHOEI MARU.

5 May 1943:
Apra Harbor, Guam. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Wreford G. Chapple’s (USNA ’30) USS PERMIT (SS-178) sights TOKAI MARU, low in the water. Chapple fires torpedoes at the transport and scores one hit, further damaging her.

E August 1943:
Apra Harbor, Guam. TOKAI MARU is raised and later tethered to a mooring buoy in Apra’s outer harbor.

27 August 1943:
Apra Harbor, Guam. LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Merrill K. Clementson’s (USNA ’33) USS SNAPPER (SS-185) sights TOKAI MARU. At 1424, Clementson torpedoes and score two hits portside in the engine room. TOKAI MARU takes a 40 degrees’ list and sinks by the stern. Her crew boards the ship’s boats. At 1440, all crew safely land ashore. At 1803, TOKAI MARU’s bow disappears from the surface, taking with her the mooring buoy.

In an unusual coincidence, the ship’s sinking position is next to the wreck of German armed merchant raider SMS CORMORAN (ex-Russian RJASAN) scuttled on 7 Apr ‘17 to prevent capture. The starboard keel of TOKAI MARU touches CORMORAN’s rudder post allowing divers to touch two shipwrecks from different world wars at the same time.

1 December 1943:
Removed from the Navy List under internal order No. 2564.

Authors Notes:
[1] Not to be confused with Tokai Kisen’s (3099 GRT ’05), auxiliary IJN small tug ship (458 GRT, ’43) and Tokai Kisen’s Wartime Std F type (519 GRT, ’44).
[2] See Zatsuyosen home page for full explanation.
[3] There were two categories of Zatsuyosen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan, Erich Muehlthaler of Germany.

-Gilbert Casse, Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall

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