SS Fukkai Maru

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SS Fukkai Maru
SS Fukkai Maru.jpg
Photo was taken immediately before POWs were unloaded at Pusan on 24 Oct 1942.
SS Fukkai Maru 2.jpg
Pre war photo of Koghi Maru, of similar design to Fukkai Maru
Name SS Fukkai Maru
General characteristics
Type Japanese Tramp Steamer
Tonnage 3,829 tons


One of more than 200 ships on a list of Japanese Hell Ships - those that transported Allied prisoners of war during the Pacific War. On one voyage she had sailed in convoy with eight other cargo ships escorted by three Japanese warships from Mutsure in southern Japan on 12 Mar 1942 to Mako, Pescadores, Formosa where they arrived on 16 Mar 1942. Between them they carried 4.500 Japanese aviation personnel.

The Fukkai Maru also made at least one journey with POWs that had been captured in Malaya and Singapore to Korea in 1942. On 12 Aug 1942 1,100 POWs (885 British, 115 Australian) were loaded on her and she sailed in convoy with SS England Maru on 16 Aug 1942. (some records give date as 12 Aug, others 20 Aug 1942) The convoy travelled via Saigon before arriving at Takao, Formosa (Taiwan) on 29 Aug 1942. While the POWs on England Maru were transferred to POW camps, the men aboard Fukkai Maru were forced to work as stevedores unloading bauxite until they reboarded Fukkai Maru which departed Takao for Korea on 8 Sep 1942. On 22 Sep 1942 she arrived at Pusan, Korea where the POWs disembarked and were sent to prison camps.

On Monday 13 Dec 1943 the Fukkai Maru was torpedoed off Palau by the US Submarine USS Pogy (SS 266). In turn the submarine was damaged by depth charges and had to break off the attack. Palau is an archipelago of more than 500 islands east of the Philippine island of Mindanao, and north of West Papua. The Fukkai Maru had earlier been identified as leaving Tako on Formosa as part of an escorted convoy on 2 Jul 1943.

Soldiers carried

Singapore to Korea 12 August - 22 September 1942