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With severely damaged steering gear the Oryoku Maru limped back to Subic Bay. The next morning on the 15 December American planes once again found the damaged Oryoku Maru. About prisoners died aboard the ship from suffocation or dehydration during the two nights aboard while nearly others were killed in the bombing or shot in the water by the Japanese as they tried to swim ashore.

Memorial honors POWs who died on infamous Japanese ‘hellships’ of WWII

After burning steadily for 2 hours Oryoku Maru settled into the water approx metres off Alava Pier. The survivors were then transported by truck and train to San Fernando and thence to other ships, the Enoura Maru and Brazil Maru. The Brazil Maru, which also carried a cargo of 12, bags of sugar, sailed for Japan on 14, January Conditions on board were indescribable, hundreds dying on the way from the cold, lack of air and water. On arrival at Moji in Japan two weeks later, only Prisoners were alive.

Conditions Onboard a Japanese Hell Ship

Of these, died within the first month ashore. As Oryoku Maru was sunk in shipping lanes; she was broken up with explosives to eradicate threats to navigation. She is now a mess of twisted iron which has become home to an array of marine life. Clown fish, angelfish, spotted sweetlips and lobster will be encountered and regular schools of barracuda and Giant Trevally swim overhead. Many books and articles have been written about the "Hell Ships" especially about this one. As a dive site and a war grave, the Oryoku Maru sits about meters off shore.

She sits in 15 to 25 meters of water.

The Oryoku Maru was one of the hell ships used for transporting POW to Japan to serve as workers.

The wreck is a tangle of metal the results of war damage, clearing operations and time. Visibility is often poor as the wreck is very near a commercial pier. Coral and fish life is healthy, with large schools of jacks found near the bow. Take a look at all the pictures! Mapating Rock. Barges Grand Island. Japanese Patrol Boat.

Dry Dock. Drop-off, Pinnacle.


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Kasai Point, Kasai Wall. Gorgonia Wall. Java Party 23 included about 6, men bound for Padang on the west coast of Sumatra to work on the Sumatra railway Mid-Sumatra. About 4, romushas and 1, POWs died when the ship sank in 20 minutes. About romushas and POWs were rescued by Japanese ships and taken to the Prison in Padang , where eight prisoners died.

Ghost Ships 1

The ship required engine repairs upon arrival in Makassar. Here POWs died in the holds in the 40 days required to complete repairs. They were transported by train to the Kampong Makassar camp in Batavia Meester Cornelis , and arrived on 28 November The Oryoku Maru was a 7,ton passenger cargo liner transporting 1, survivors of the Bataan Death March , Corregidor and other battles. It left Manila on 13 December , and over the next two days was mistakenly bombed and strafed by US planes.

About died aboard ship.

Japanese Hell Ships

Some died from suffocation or dehydration. Others were killed in the attack or drowned while escaping the sinking ship.

A colonel, in his official report, wrote:. There the Japanese medics were shocked at the wasted condition of the POWs and used triage to divide them. The most severe cases were taken to a primitive military hospital in Kokura where 73 died within a month. Four other groups were sent to Fukuoka POW camps 1, 3, 4 and Of men alive when the ship docked, only survived the war.


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American POWs on Japanese Ships Take a Voyage into Hell

The Rule of Law in International Affairs. Memories of War: Personal Histories. Retrieved 30 June Japanse krijgsgevangenkampen.

Henk Beekhuis. Roll of Honour. Retrieved 30 September Random House. Cornwall, National Archive Mil.