Nippo Maru

Length 354ft  Beam 50ft  3764tons

Coal powered Steam Turbine Driving a Single Prop

The Nippo Maru was built in 1936 as a five hold passenger-cargo ship, she was requisitioned in 1941  by the  Japanese Navy as an auxiliary transporter. She was fitted out to carry water in container tanks. Her general mission was to supply water, ordinance  and ammunition to naval forces in Mandated Islands.

In 1942  she was assigned  with the 6th fleet base force at Jaluit, she made  repeated  trips between the island. On December 7th 1943 she left Kusiae for Ponaoe carrying army troops of the 52nd  Division. The Nippo Maru arrived in Truk Lagoon on February 10 th 1944. On February 17th 1944 she was at anchor at the 4th fleet anchorage, East of the Dublon Island. During the first strike of  Operation Hailstorm she was attacked  by TBF Avengers aircraft from USS Essex.  They scored  three hits  in the mid and aft areas  causing heavy damage, she went down within 2 hours of the attack.

Nippo Maru  now rests on the sea bed at 47m on an even keel with a 20-30 degree list  to port. With the superstructure at 27m, deck at 35m. There are 3 anti tank Howitzer guns on her starboard deck, a Type-95 “Ha Go” battle tank sits on the portside of the main deck by No 2 Hold. The last hold  has a full  battery of 5 inch guns. The helm and engine telegraphs provide excellent photos.

There is a fallen anti aircraft gun on  the main deck,  the remains of a  truck hanging partly overboard on the port side close to Hold No 1. With a second  on the sea bed beneath it. There are  mines and shells cases in Hold No 1. On the  Nippo you can  find shells, detonators, rifle  ammunition,  water tanks, gas masks, mass kits, shoes,  beer bottles and other  artefacts.

While there is a lot of  excellent  dives  in Truk Lagoon, the Nippo Maru is definately a must  dive.  

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