Wreck of the  Toa Maru No 2, sunk 31 January 1943 Gizo, Solomon Islands

The Toa Maru No 2 was a passenger/cargo ship built at Nagaski, Japan, for the Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK Line). Launched on 8 December 1938, the ship was 133.8 metres long, just under 18 metres wide and displaced 6,732 tons. Powered by an eight cylinder diesel engine, the ship's first voyage was from Kobe to West Africa. In 1941 the ship was called into war service and used to transport men and equipment about the Pacific.


On 31 January 1943 the Toa Maru was carrying equipment and supplies to Kolombangara. Reports about the action differ a little but the following is what appears to have occurred.  The ship was spotted by coastwatchers leaving Rabaul on New Ireland in Papua New Guinea a few days earlier.  12 Douglas TBF Dauntless torpedo bombers & some Douglas SBD 5 Dauntless dive bombers left Henderson Airfield on Guadalcanal to the south with the aim of attacking shipping in Vella Gulf.  They came across the Toa Maru No 2.  After a bombing and strafing attack the Toa Maru burst into flames, and sank sometime after on the northern side of Sepo Kokiti Island.

second world war left behind it a colossal array of shipwrecks in the Pacific islands.  These images were taken on brief visits to numerous obscure, locally recommended sites around the Pacific islands; there remain scores of wrecks still undiscovered in these waters.


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