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  ML 805 (MV Petaj)
B Type Fairmile Motor Launch

65 Tons
August 17, 1945

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September 10, 1945

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Dive Gizo 1997

Ship History
Australian Patrol boat built in 1943 at Greenpoint Naval Boatyard at Sydney as ML 805.

Wartime History
Commanded by Lt. E. H. W. Sturt, RANVR. On March 10, 1945, this ship with ML 802 covered the landings at Wide Bay on East New Britain.

Later, ML 805 operated off the Wewak area. During July 1945, the Australian 6th Division believed that the Japanese in the area were ready surrender. Both ML 805 and ML 809 were outfitted with broadcasting equipment to play surrender messages.

On August 1, 1945 ML 805 and ML 809 approached Mushu Island broadcasting news to surrender, without result.

On August 17, 1945 (two days after Japan's surrender) two Japanese boats with white flags approached the boat and were taken aboard. A meeting was arranged and occurred on the beach of Muschu to arrange the surrender of Navy personal.

On September 10, 1945 Rear-Admiral Sato boarded ML 805 in the Kairuru Strait. He signed the terms of surrender and handed over his sword to Major-General Horace Robertson of the 6th Division, Australian Army.

After the war, the ship returned to Australia and was stored in reserve off Village Point, Watson's Bay near Sydney.

Later, sold to private owners. Renamed MV Petaj and used as a dive boat in Queensland, and later returned to New Guinea.

Bob Hodgson adds:
"The Petaj was chartered to be used to support seismic exploration operations for Shell Oil in New Guinea on the Sepik River in mid 1980's, she was used as accommodation for crew coming in and out of the field operations, and when I stayed aboard here in 1985, she was moored up at Hauna up the Sepik river.  She had been somewhat modified from her original configuration, however there was some battle damage left and a plaque commemorating the Japanese surrender."

In 1994, the vessel was in service with Indian Pacific Seafood Company as a cargo vessel operating in the Solomon Islands. In 1997, the ship was scheduled to be sunk off New Georgia.

Sinking History
Instead, it was purchased by Danny Kennedy / Dive Gizo and sunk as a dive site off Ghizo Island in 1997.

Today it is an artificial reef and dive site.

AWM "Wewak surrender ceremonies" F07243 cine footage ML805 September 10, 1945 off Kairuru 1:15-1:21, 2:28-3:10, 3:19-5:00
Fairmile Ships of the Royal Australian Navy Volume II pages 79-81

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


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