Truk. Dive 16 – Nippo Maru

This is a wreck I’ve been looking forward to diving for many years. It’s one that up until now, I had always missed out on. Today that changed.

The Nippo Maru was built in 1936 as a passenger and cargo freighter. The navy took her over in late 1941 and used her as a water transport. At Truk her role was to carry water from Dublon to some of the outlying islands where water was scarce.  She now lies in 30 – 50 metres of water, listing to port.

There is a buoy attached to her bow. We dropped down this line on to the forecastle. Here there was a gun mount, and a large pair of binoculars. There was a huge Napoleon Wrasse swimming along the side of the ship. In hold #1 there were gas masks and a variety of small arms ammunition, along with some big 12cm shell casings. On the deck below the hold is a large truck chassis. The bodywork has rotted away. There is another on the seabed next to the ship.

Hold #2 contains several large water tanks, which look quite like modern 20ft containers. There is a light 2 man tank on the port side of the deck. We swam through 2 levels of superstructure. The top level had a wheel, binnacle and telegraph in excellent condition.  Sadly the depth meant we then had to head back to the line on the bow. But we were accompanied by a school of barracuda and a school of jacks. And the inevitable blue fin trevally.

The Nippo Maru certainly lived up to my expectations. Hopefully it won’t be as long before I revisit her.

Nippo Maru

  • Displacement: 3,673 tons
  • Length: 352 feet
  • Beam: 50 feet
  • Engine: 1 coal / steam turbine
  • Depth: 25 – 45 m.

Our Dive

  • Depth: 37.2 m.
  • Time: 49 minutes
  • Gas:  Air

Graphic courtesy of Captain Lance Higgs of S.S. Thorfinn.
Photos courtesy of Catheryn Chu.

About Neil Hambleton

I am a British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Advanced Diver and an Open Water Instructor. I have been diving since 1992, after joining South China Diving Club (SCDC), which is a Hong Kong-based branch of the BSAC. Having moved to New Zealand, I am now a member of BSAC New Zealand.
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