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  HMNZS Moa (T233)
Royal New Zealand Navy
Bird class minesweeper

607 Tons (standard)
923 (full load)
168' x 30' x 15.3'
1 x 4" gun
2 x Lewis MG
40 depth charges

Ship History
Commissioned August 12, 1941 into the Royal New Zealand Navy as HMNZS Moa (T233).

Wartime History
During December 1942, one of four ships of the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla deployed to the Solomon Islands including HMNZS Matai (T01), HMNZS Kiwi (T102), HMNZS Tui (T234) and HMNZS Moa (T233).

During the night of January 29 1943 Moa and Kiwi were patrolling one mile apart off Kamimbo Bay on the northwest coast of Guadalcanal. The pair made sonar contact with a target 3,000 yards away and Kiwi at once altered course toward the enemy and increased to full speed to attack with depth charges while the Moa kept her course and acted as the sonar directing vessel.

Sinking History
On April 7, 1943 Moa was being refueling from USS Erskine Phelps (YON-147) in Tulagi Harbor. During "Operation I-Go" attacked by Japanese D3A2 Val dive bombers. The Moa suffered a direct bomb hit that passed through the upper deck out the hull before exploding plus two near misses that caused the ship to sink in four minutes. Aboard, five were Killed In Action (KIA) and several wounded. During the same attack, USS Erskine Phelps (YON-147) was damaged and settled on the bottom but was later raised.

Shipwreck
In 1975 a typhoon hit the area, and a fishingboat moored at Tulagi dragged its anchor across the deck of the ship, destroying the superstructure. The debris field from the 1975 anchor incident is scattered along the nearby seafloor. The Moa is dived by Tulagi Dive, but due to higher siilt concentrations is not visited as often. At the bow is the 4" gun and at the stern are depth charge racks.

References
X Attack of I-Operation by Richard Dunn pages 30-31
Thanks to Neil Yates / Tulagi Dive for additional information

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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