Hoki Maru


Length 450ft Beam 58ft 7,112tons

2 North British Co. Eight-Cylinder Four Stroke Diesel Engines Driving Twin Props

The Hoki was Built in 1921 by William Danny & Brothers in Scotland for the Union Steamship Corporation of New Zealand to be used for the Trans-Pacific trade.  Mostly to Australia. Originally she was named the M/V Hauraki. She could carry a complement of 50 men and 12 passengers. She was the first of her kind to be propelled by diesel rather than steam. Her oil bunkers held enough fuel to take the vessel  halfway  around the world.

In July 1942 she was sent out from Sydney to Port Said  with a crew  of  50 New Zealanders. She was captured by Japanese Merchant Raiders  Hokoku Maru and Aikoku Maru ( also sunk at Truk) and then taken to Singapore where the Japanese decided that her engines were in poor condition, owing to what they thought was poor maintenance.

They were unaware of the sabotage efforts by the New Zealand crew, who had also thrown overboard all tools, spare parts, maintenance manuals and blue prints for operating these unique diesel engines. The New Zealand crew were ultimately sent to several POW camps, two of the crew were later awarded the OBE for bravery. It took the Japanese 18 month to get her back into service and she was re-commissioned as the Hoki Maru and classified as a ‘Special’  transport, she arrived in Truk on 15th February 1944 just 2 days before  Operation Hailstorm. On 17th February she was attacked by dive bombers from USS Essex  and USS Yorktown also torpedo planes from USS Bunker  Hill. She burned and sank before the next day.

She now rests  on the sea bed at a max depth of 50 m with her deck at 36 m and her superstructures at 24 m.

As she had arrived in Truk less than 2 days before the attack she had not been unloaded. The front part of the ship has been blown away, her engine room is accessible. The aft  holds are  full of all types of cargo, bombs, ammunition and vehicles, including a diesel roller, 4 Isuzu type 94 trucks, 2 tractors, bulldozers  and a prime mover. The wide variety of cargo and equipment on her, makes an excellent dive.

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