(TONEI MARU, prewar – Source: Ships of the World magazine No. 516, Nov ‘96, p. 136, via Berend Van der Wal)

Tabular Record of Movement

© 2016-2018 Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall

Revision 1

Sakurajima. Laid down by Osaka Iron Works K.K. shipyard for Dairen Kisen K.K. as a 4,930-tons cargo ship.

18 January 1941:
Launched and named TONEI MARU.

12 April 1941:
Completed and registered at Dairen, Manchuria, (now Dalian, northern China).

16 July 1942:
Requisitioned by the IJN. That same day passes through the Bungo Suido heading north.

20 July 1942:
Starts conversion to military duty at the Kure Naval Yard. Registered as an auxiliary collier/oiler (Ko) category attached to the Kure Naval District with Kure as homeport under Navy’s instruction No. 1336. Assigned to Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi’s (38) Eighth Fleet. [1]

31 July 1942:
Captain Saito Otojiro (37) is appointed supervisor.

5 August 1942:
The conversion is completed.

22 August 1942:
Departs Kure in convoy with auxiliary oiler TATEKAWA MARU.

E 2 September 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul, New Britain.

11 September 1942:
At 0902, minesweeper W-22 comes alongside on port. At 0938, starts to transfers 80-tons of coal. At 1400, coaling operation ends. W-22 disengages at 1455.

3 October 1942:
At 0757, minesweeper W-22 comes alongside on port. At 0839, starts to transfers 80-tons of coal. At 1420, coaling operation ends.

18 October 1942:
At 0632, minesweeper W-22 comes alongside amidships. At 0715, starts to transfers 100-tons of coal. At 1335, coaling operation ends. W-22 disengages at 1547.

E November 1942:
Departs Rabaul.

27 November 1942:
Passes through Bungo Suiso heading north, possibly in convoy with tanker KIYO MARU.

30 November 1942:
Arrives at Kure.

10 December 1942:
Departs Kure. Minelayer NUWAJIMA joins TONEI MARU off Fukajima and escorts her south.

E 11 December 1942:
NUWAJIMA is detached 90 degrees off Toi Misaki.

E 20 December 1942:
Arrives at Rabaul.

25 December 1942:
Comes alongside and transfers coal to Fleet oiler TSURUMI.

29 December 1942:
Sustains engine breakdown.

12 March 1943:
At 1420, departs Rabaul in a convoy also consisting of IJA transports ASAKA, NISHIYAMA (SEIZAN), MOMOHA, TOHO and TASMANIA MARUs and IJN requisitioned passenger-cargo ship (B-APK) FLORIDA MARU escorted by destroyer MOCHIZUKI and Fleet salvage and repair vessel NAGAURA.

15 March 1943:
NW of the Admiralty Islands. At 1115, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) Roy S. Benson's USS TRIGGER (SS-237) torpedoes and sinks MOMOHA MARU at 00-02S, 145-05E. At 1355, as the escorts are transferring survivors to FLORIDA MARU, the ship is also torpedoed and damaged by USS TRIGGER. Subchaser CH-23, that came out to assist, rescues the survivors.

18 March 1943:
TONEI MARU and destroyer MOCHIZUKI return to abandoned FLORIDA MARU, which remains afloat, and tow the ship to Möwe anchorage, New Hannover.

24 March 1943:
Both ships arrive at Möwe.

25 March 1943:
Departs Möwe with auxiliary aircraft transport MOGAMIGAWA MARU escorted by cable layer escorts HASHIMA and TATEISHI.

28 March 1943:
At 1200 arrives at Truk.

4 April 1943:
At 0600, departs Truk in a convoy also consisting of auxiliary aircraft transport MOGAMIGAWA MARU and auxiliary oiler HOYO MARU. HOYO and TONEI MARUs are bound for Kure. MOGAMIGAWA MARU is bound for Yokosuka. The ships are escorted by auxiliary gunboat CHOAN MARU No. 2.

13 April 1943:
At 1200, in position 32-00N, 137-10E MOGAMIGAWA MARU is due to separate from the convoy for Yokosuka.

15 April 1943:
Arrives at Kure.

9 May 1943:
Departs Kure.

12 May 1943:
Arrives at Yokosuka.

14 May 1943:
At 1300, departs Yokosuka in convoy No. 3514A also consisting of auxiliary seaplane tender KAMIKAWA MARU and auxiliary transport HAKOZAKI MARU escorted by kaibokan OKI.

21 May 1943:
Destroyer ASANAGI meets the convoy N of Truk, Central Carolines.

22 May 1943:
At 1400, arrives at Truk.

2 June 1943:
At 1500, departs Truk in convoy No. 1023 also consisting of auxiliary transport SHOEI (1,986 GRT) MARU and auxiliary storeship HARUNA (1,549 GRT) MARU escorted by destroyer ASANAGI and auxiliary gunboat SEIKAI MARU. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots.

6 June 1943:
Arrives at Rabaul.

E July 1943:
Departs Rabaul.

27 July 1943:
At 1600, departs Takao, Formosa (now Kaohsiung, Taiwan) in convoy No. 311 also consisting of IJA transports HAVRE (5652 grt), TAIJIN, SUGIYAMA, HOKUYO and SHOTO MARUs and IJN shared emergency tanker (B/C-AO) TAKETOYO MARU and possibly auxiliary transport SHOKEI MARU without escort. The convoy sails at 8.5 knots. [3]

31 July 1943:
At 0900, arrives at Samah, Hainan Island, China.

1 August 1943:
Departs Samah.

3 August 1943:
Arrives at Yulin, Hainan Island, China.

4 August 1943:
At 1800, departs Yulin.

8 August 1943:
At 0200 arrives at Takao.

10 August 1943:
At 1940 departs Takao.

13 August 1943:
Departs Palau, Western Carolines in convoy FU-207 also consisting of IJA repair and salvage vessel CHINZEI MARU, auxiliary transport KANAYAMASAN MARU, IJA transports SHOKO, TOKO, MYOGI, TAIKO and UCHIDE MARUs and IJN requisitioned cargo ship (B-AK) HAKKO MARU escorted by patrol boat PB-31 and auxiliary minesweeper TAKASAGO MARU.

E 14 August 1943:
TAKASAGO MARU is detached.

E 19 August 1943:
Auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 3 and TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 meet up with the convoy.

21 August 1943:
Detached from the convoy at some point and arrives at Kure. The convoy arrives at Hesaki that same day.

5 September 1943:
Departs Kure and arrives at Saeki, Kyushu later that day.

10 September 1943:
Departs Saeki in convoy O-008 also consisting of IJA transports CLYDE, KAMOI, NISSHU, UCHIDE, TSUYAMA, TONEGAWA and KIBI MARUs escorted by destroyer HARUKAZE, torpedo boat SAGI, minelayer YURIJIMA, auxiliary patrol boats CHOUN MARU No. 15 and NITTO MARU No. 12. TSUYAMA MARU carries 1,000 military personnel and military supplies.

11 September 1943:
At 0150, LtCdr Joseph W. Wilkins' (USNA '33) USS SPEARFISH (SS-190) torpedoes TSUYAMA MARU at 30-56N, 132-47E, 110 degrees and 80 miles off the Toi promontory. TSUYAMA MARU settles by the stern and navigation becomes impossible. Five men are KIA. YURIJIMA and SAGI tow TSUYAMA MARU back to Saeki. Later, TSUYAMA MARU is towed to Osaka, undergoes permanent repairs and is returned to duty as a transport.

YURIJIMA, CHOUN MARU No. 15 and NITTO MARU No. 12 are detached at 30N and conduct an overnight sweep in preparation of the arrival of convoy FU-206 consisting of auxiliary collier SANSEI MARU (3266 gt) and IJA transports YOSHIDA MARU No. 3, YASUSHIMA, EHIME, YUBAE and SHINRYU MARUs escorted by minesweeper W-18 and auxiliary minesweepers TAKUNAN MARU No. 8 and TAMA MARU No. 7.

19 September 1943:
Convoy O-008 arrives at Palau.

28 September 1943:
Departs Palau for Rabaul in convoy SO-805 also consisting of IJA transports MAEBASHI, NISSHU, KINKASAN and TOUN MARUs escorted by subchasers CH-16 and CH-38.

30 September 1943:
373 miles ESE of Palau. At 0640, LtCdr George H. Wales' (USNA ’29) USS POGY (SS-266) torpedoes and sinks MAEBASHI MARU at 01-00N, 139-28E. The IJA transport is carrying 2,367 IJA troops and other passengers, ammunition, 10 heavy vehicles, 40 oil drums, hemp rope, pontoons, etc. She takes down 1,389 troops, 13 gunners and 48 crewmen. [2]

1 October 1943:
Captain Saito is relieved from duty and assigned to the Yokosuka Naval District. TONEI MARU is rerated in (B) category. 746 miles ESE of Palau: at about 1700, LtCdr (later Rear Admiral) William T. Nelson's (USNA ’30) USS PETO (SS-265) torpedoes and sinks KINKASAN MARU with the loss of three crewman and TONEI MARU with the loss of 10 crewmen, both at 04-00N, 143-50E.

6 October 1943:
The remainder of the convoy arrives at Rabaul.

1 December 1943:
Removed from the Navy’s list under instruction No. 2564.

Authors' Notes:
[1] There were two categories of Kyutanyusen. (Ko) category with an IJN Captain as supervisor aboard and (Otsu) category without.

[2] MAEBASHI MARU carried 3,200 passengers and crew, data from a captured diary.

[3] This and subsequent entries appear dubious. It is likely the ship remained in the Rabaul-Palau area at this time.

Thanks go to Gengoro S. Toda of Japan.

- Gilbert Casse and Peter Cundall.

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