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  Hakkai Maru
IJN
Navy Auxiliary
Repair Ship

5,110 Tons
422' length

Click For Enlargement
Andrew Wright 1994

Sinking History
The Hakkai Maru was making repairs to a Japanese cruiser near New Georgia and until sunk by Allied bombers. Afterwards departed for Rabaul

On January 17, 1943 anchored at approximately 4:40pm in Simpson Harbor. At 5:40pm, attacked by B-25 Mitchell medium bombers making a skip bombing attack. Hit by a bomb this vessel was sunk killed 25 members of the crew.

Shipwreck
Hakkai Maru rested upright, with her stern at 80' and her bridge at 100'. Beautiful coral growth covered her superstructure, king post and hull. The stern had the coral encrusted anti-aircraft gun.

The cargo holds are full of machinery. drills, lathes, presses, welders, and every imaginable type of metal working machines lined the decks with everything from hull plates to torpedoes.

During the 1960–1970s, a number of relics collected by divers from the wreck are displayed at the Kokopo War Museum, including the ship's clock, stopped at 5:40pm, the moment the ship sank.

A diver decompression chamber was bolted to the fore deck measuring 5' long and 10' wide, including nickel etched dive tables bolted inside. In 1971, an unsuccessful salvage attempt was made to recover the chamber, documented by a Japanese film crew. Later, salvaged by diver Jim Forrest and abandoned at Pat Robert yard along Blanch Bay where it remained until the 1980s. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

During the 1994 volcanic eruptions at Rabaul, the shipwreck was covered in ash, and is no longer able to be dived.

References
National Geographic "Ghosts of War In the South Pacific" page 435 - 436
Winged Ghosts of the South Pacific dives this wreck
The Last New Guinea Salvage Pirate, pages 134 - 136

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

SCUBA
80 - 170'
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