San Francisco Maru

Length 385ft  Beam 51ft  5,864tons

Reciprocal Steam Engine Driving a Single Prop

The San Francisco was built in 1919. Her Design was the need to rapidly replace ships sunk by German U-boats in WW I and her type of construction was the predecessor to the famed ‘Liberty Ships’. As part of a fleet involved in world trade operations in minerals such as coal, bauxite and phosphate for transportation to the Empire. When war began she was in semi-retirement, before she was taken by the Japanese Navy and pressed into service carrying cargo.

The San Francisco Maru arrived in Truk Lagoon on the 5th February. On the 17th February she was lying at the 4th fleet anchorage South East of Dublon. On the 1st Day of the attack she was hit amidships. On 18th February she was attacked by planes from USS Yorktown, USS Bunkerhill and USS Essex. She was hit by six 500lb bombs they reported her burning furiously and sinking stern first.

The San Francisco Maru now lies on an even Keel on the sea bed at 64m with her deck at 50m Superstructure at 43m. As this wreck lies deeper than most, it has little coral growth on her and it is easy  to imagine what she would have been like on the surface loaded with the vast amount of war material that is on her, before she was sent to her final resting place.

She has a lovely bow gun. In Hold No.1 there are hemispherical mines, cordite containers, crates of artillery shell and aircraft bombs. Hold No 2 and other holds are filled with war material such as fuel drums, hose sections, ammunition crates, artillery shells. The Aft Holds hold torpedo bodies, aircraft  bombs, depth charges, airplane engines, and aircraft wheel assemblies .

On her deck there are three Japanese Type-95  ‘Ha Go’ light tanks that took a 3 man crew. The tanks weigh 7.5 tons and had one 37mm main gun  and two  7mm machine guns. They were powered by a six cylinder air cooled diesel engine, which gave the tank a top speed of 30mph. There are also flat bed Trucks and a water tanker on her.

It is easy to see why this ship has been christened the  ‘Million Dollar Wreck’. If you are comfortable at going to this depth. The San Francisco is a great dive.

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