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  Kinugawa Maru (Bonegi 2)
IJN
Transport

7,000 Tons
143 / ? / ?

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November 15, 1942

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George Lee Peters 1944

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Robert Porter 1944

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July 19, 1957

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Jeff Johnson 1998

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Justin Taylan 2003

Ship History
Built during 1933. Named Kinugawa Maru. Used by the Japanese Navy at the start of the Pacific War.

Wartime History
On May 9, 1942, Kinugawa Maru was part of "Convoy 206" including Shinsei Maru, Tatsuwa Maru, Tatsuharu Maru, Senzan Maru, Nanyo Maru, Keifuku Maru, Taisho Maru, Meiyu Maru, Wayo Maru and this ship. Escorted by Tsubame and destroyer Sanae.

During early November 1942, part of a convoy of eleven transports (Arizona Maru, Kumagawa Maru, Sado Maru, Nagara Maru, Nako Maru, Canberra Maru, Brisbane Maru, Kinugawa Maru, Hirokawa Maru, Yamaura Maru, and Yamatsuki Maru) escorted by twelve destroyers.

On November 12, 1942 during the afternoon departed Shortland then proceeded southeast down "The Slot" bound for Guadalcanal with reinforcements. The convoy was scheduled to arrive during the night of November 13, 1942 but was recalled to Shortland due to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal underway in Iron Bottom Sound.

Trying again, the convoy departed November 13, 1942 departed Shortland in the afternoon bound for Guadalcanal. During the morning of November 14, 1942 spotted by U. S. aircraft abd attacked overwhelmed the escorting Japanese aircraft. Six transports were sunk and one damaged that turned back and later sank.

Only four transports escorted by four destroyers remained continued onward. Arriving after nightfall, they stopped to the west of Guadalcanal as the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal was underway in Iron Bottom Sound during the night of November 14-15.

Sinking History
On November 15, 1942 at 4:00am, the remaining four transports: Kinugawa Maru, Hirokawa Maru, Yamaura Maru, and Yamatsuki Maru) beached themselves on Guadalcanal.

Kinugawa Maru beached near Bonegi. Starting at 5:55am, U S. aircraft from Henderson Field and field artillery began bombarding the beached transports. Later USS Meade (DD-602) approached and opened fire for an hour hitting the ships with 5" shells, leaving them "blazing with many internal explosions".

These attacks set the transports afire and destroyed most equipment not unloaded before dawn. Approximately 2,000 troops with 260 cases of ammunition and 1,500 bags of rice made ashore. Most of the ammunition and food supplies aboard were lost.

Fates of the Crew
In early January 1943, roughly 75 crew members from Kinugawa Maru in a field hospital. Soldiers from the U. S. Army 147th Infantry Regiment overran the hospital and killed all the patients including these surviving crew members.

Shipwreck
The shipwreck remained above water, with the mast collapsed to the side and bow above water. After the Battle of Guadalcanal, Kinugawa Maru was extensively photographed by Allied personnel until the end of the Pacific War.

Postwar, the shipwreck was heavily scrapped, but remained largely intact until the late 1950s. Afterwards, storms and an earthquake in 1977 collapsed the entire bridge area and further damaged the vessel.

Today, this ship is a favorite for SCUBA divers because it is easily accessible from shore. The bow is exposed above the surface and the stern is at a depth of 88.6' / 27m.

Jeff Johnson Reports:
"About a quarter mile from Hirokawa Maru (Bonegi 1). There are still a few pieces left above water, but for the most part, it has deteriorated. You can still get into two or three of the cargo holds."

References
Hell's Islands by Stan Jersey
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

SCUBA
20m from shore
27m Stern

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