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  Yokohama Maru
IJN
Cargo

6,143 Tons
406' 4" x 49' 1" x 27' 4"
Bow Deck Gun

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NYK c1912-1941

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USN March 10, 1942

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Don Fetterly 1992
Ship History
Built by Mitsubishi Dockyard and Engine Works at Nagasaki. Laid down October 25, 1910 as yard no. 216 as a passenger and cargo vessel purchased by Nippon Yusen Kisen (N. Y. K.) the Japan Mail Line. Launched January 30, 1912 as Yokohama Maru and registered in Tokyo. Completed May 14, 1942 and began the N. Y. K. route to Guam for cargo and passenger service. On July 17, 1932 arrives Vancouver.

On October 10, 1941 requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and converted into a troop ship as Army No. 932 and armed with a deck gun.

Wartime History
At the start of the Pacific War, assigned to Operation G for invasion of Guam assigned to the 5th Base Force convoy including Yokohama Maru, China Maru, Cheribon Maru, Clyde Maru Daifuku Maru Kogyoku Maru, Matsue Maru, Moji Maru, Nichimei Maru and Venice Maru transporting the 55th Infantry Corps under the command of Major General Tomitaro Horii. The convoy is escorted by minelayer Tsugaru and destroyer Oboro and seaplane tender Kiyokawa Maru. On December 10, 1941 at 4:00am, the invasion force begins landing at Dungcas Beach to the north of Agana on Guam.

On January 14, 1942 departs Apra Harbor on Guam assigned to Operation R bound for Rabaul as part of the invasion fleet including including Yokohama Maru, China Maru, Cheribon Maru, Clyde Maru, Hibi Maru, Meiten Mito Maru, Moji Maru, Taifuku Maru and Venice Maru escorted by Shuko Maru with subchasers Kyo Maru No. 8 and Kyo Maru No. 10. On February 25, 1942 arrives at Rabaul and embarks the 2nd Battalion, 144th Regiment "South Seas Detachment".

On March 5, 1942 departs Rabaul assigned to Operation SR as part of a convoy including China Maru plus Kongo Maru, Kokai Maru and Tenyo Maru escorted by Kinryu Maru bound for Lae and Salamaua on New Guinea. On March 8, 1942 after midnight begins landing her troops at Salamaua. Later that day, targeted by RAAF Hudsons from No. 32 Squadron and sustained a bomb hit. Aboard, three are killed and eight wounded.

Sinking History
On March 10, 1942 off Salamaua targeted by U.S. Navy (USN) TBD-1 Devastators of VT-2 from USS Lexington (CV-2) and hit by an aerial torpedo and sunk at roughly Lat 7°  1' S, Long 147°  7' E. Aboard, one crew member is killed in the attack and sinking.

Shipwreck
In 1968, the Yokohama Maru was first discovered by SCUBA diver Rodney Peace who was seventeen at the time. The shipwreck is upright at a depth of 197' / 60m to the bridge, the shallowest part of the shipwreck. Afterwards, some items were salvaged including including brass fixtures, port holes metal and cargo.

The Yokohama Maru is the largest World War II shipwreck at SCUBA dive depth in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This shipwreck is strictly for experienced SCUBA divers with excellent visibility of about 98' / 30m on average, The wreck is diveable year round and has little coral growth due to the depth. The deck guns remain on the bow.

References
Lloyds of London Lloyd's Register of Ships - Yokohama Maru
Lloyds of London Lloyd's Register of Ships - Yokohama Maru 1930-1931 [PDF]
NARA Task Force 11 "Report of attack on enemy forces at Salamaua-Lae Area, 3/10/42" March 25, 1942 pages 1-45 (report), 46-128 (photos)
Combined Fleet - Yokohama Maru Tabular Record of Movement
Yokohama Maru Dive Report by Iain Williams
Thanks to Rodney Peace for additional information

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Last Updated
March 10, 2021

 

SCUBA
197' / 60m bridge

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