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    Tufi PT Boat Base Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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US Navy 1943

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Don Fetterly 1996

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Don Fetterly 1997

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Don Silcock 2009
Location
Tufi PT Boat Base was located at Tufi bordering Tufi Harbor. Prewar and during the Pacific War located in Northern District (Northern Province) in the Territory of Papua. Today part of Oro Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Wartime History
On December 20, 1942 the ANGAU Station at Tufi became an advanced PT Base. Soon afterwards, PT Boats began operating from Tufi and attacking shipping along the coast from Buna to Mambare.

On December 24, 1942 while patrolling PT-122 claimed to have attacked and sank a submarine off the mouth of the Kumusi River near Gona, claimed to be Japanese submarine I-22.

On March 17, 1943 at 6:45pm PT-67 and PT 119 were moored alongside the dock at Tufi PT Boat Base full fueled ahead of a planned operation that night. An accidental flame cause gasoline on the surface of the water between the two PT Boats to ignite and quickly spread onto each vessel. Attempts to extinguish the flames were unsuccessful and it was impossible to cast the burning boats free. Abandoned, both PT Boats burned uncontrollably and their fuel tanks and ammunition exploded causing both to sink into Tufi Harbor. Meanwhile, nearby Australian vessel AS16 was abandoned and drifted into the fire and was also destroyed and sunk. The flames spread to the wooden dock and gasoline barrels ashore causing a large fire and detonated six Mark IV depth charges that further spread flames and ignited another 700-800 fuel drums stored nearby. The flames burned overnight due to fuel that seeped into the ground. The blaze continued until the afternoon of March 18, 1943. In total, 4,000 fuel drums were destroyed, the dock and a shed with tools, spare parts, pumps, diving gear and ammunition.

On April 20, 1943 the Tufi PT Boat Base was moved forward to Morobe River PT Boat Base near Morobe.

Today
The former Tufi PT Boat Base is the Tufi Dive Resort and the regional center of Tufi.

Two PT Boat Propellers
During 1997, a pair of Patrol Boat propellers were recovered from the shipwreck of SS Masaya. The top prop has two bullet holes near the tip of one blade. These holes were made by Japanese bullets when the ship was strafed and bombed and sunk on March 28, 1943. This holed prop was cleaned and later donated to Tufi Dive Resort which was the advanced PT Base SS Masaya with cargo for a new advanced PT Base at Douglas Harbor on Cape Ward Hunt.

References
NARA Task Group 70.1 War Diary March 1943, page 8
(Page 8) "March 17, 1943 CTG 70.1 in [USS] Hilo at Kana Kope. At 18:45, PT's 67 and 119 were alongside dock at Advance Base, having completed fueling, preparatory to night's operation. Flames, presumably the result of a match thrown by a native ignited gasoline on the surface, were seen to break out between the boats, and quickly spread to them."
Indo Pacific Images - The Tufi PT Boats by Don Silcock via Wayback Machine Sept 13, 2009
Indo Pacific Images - The Tufi Diaries, PT Boats May 10, 2009 by via Wayback Machine Sept 13, 2009
Indo Pacific Images - The Tufi WWII PT Boat Wrecks by Don Silcock

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Last Updated
March 24, 2022

 

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