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Kiyosumi Maru - Passenger cargo ship converted to Merchant Cruiser lying on port side with large torpedo holes. AA guns, gun turrets, bicycles, shells and other artifacts.

Depth: 40-110ft/12-33m

The Kiyosumi Maru was a 453ft/137m, 8,614-ton Passenger Cargo Ship built in 1934 for Kokusai Kisen K.K., which was a major Tokyo-based shipping company that employed large numbers of both motor and steam vessels. It was a standard practice to christen its motor ships with the letter ‘K’. The Kiyosumi Maru was named after a famous shrine in Kyushu. The word ‘Maru’ designates a merchant vessel. It provided passenger service to New York from the Orient, and cargo services to ports in the United States, Europe, Australia, India, China and Africa. The ship’s final voyage as a regular liner was on June 1st 1941.

Following her requisition for war-time use by the Japanese Navy in August of 1941, she was converted into an armed auxiliary cruiser with four low-angle deck guns, several light anti-aircraft guns and two pairs of twin-mount torpedo launchers. The Kiyosumi Maru was to have a distinguished wartime career serving as: (1) a coordinator for German and Italian merchant cruiser raiding operations in the Java-Indian Ocean; (2) in the Japanese offensive to take Midway Island; (3) in Solomon Islands operations one time carrying as many as 2,931 infantrymen, 119 soldiers of a mountain gun battery, 153 soldiers of a engineering battalion, and 78 communication officers; and (4) numerous troop carrying responsibilities to China, Palau, Singapore and Rabaul. On November 4th 1943 she was bombed and strafed by 19 Liberators while enroute from Truk to Rabaul. On January 2nd 1944 the USS Submarine Balao attacked the Kiyosumi Maru with a half dozen torpedoes, three of which hit her, but she didn’t go down. A sister cruiser, the Oyodo Maru, towed her to Truk Lagoon with 71 injured crewmen, where she was being repaired at the time of Operation Hailstone. Douglas dive-bombers from the USS Yorktown scored a direct hit on the bow by the no. 2 hold SE of Fefan Island. SBDs from the USS Enterprise scored two direct hits both sides of her bridge. Planes from the USS Yorktown made the final attacks against the ship. 43 of her complement of 62 crewmen died in the attacks.

Following the air attacks she took on water with a list to the port, and ultimately sank resting evenly on her port side in 120ft/36m of water approximately 600 yards from Fefan Island. The bow rests at 70ft/21m, the deck starts at 40ft/12m with the sea bottom ranging between 100-120ft/30-36m. The super structure has several staterooms, baths and a large galley; there are shells packed inside metal boxes and remains of a bicycle to be found inside the holds.

(Excerpts reprinted with permission from World War II Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon by Dan E. Bailey)


Truk Wreck Diving

Truk Stop Hotel and Truk Lagoon Dive Center
P.O. Box 546, Chuuk State,
Federated States of Micronesia 96942 
(691) 330-4232/4233/4285/4286 - 330-7990 – Reservations only
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