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4,000 Tons (aprox)
110 x 115 x 55
February 28, 1943
Australian Army c1945
Rust In Peace 1970s
Richard Leahy 1980s
Rod Pearce 1980s
On July 29, 1942 this ship was en route to Buna and was caught near Gona by A-24 Dive bombers. Hit by a bomb from the second wave and damaged its no. 5 hatch, forcing it to unload 263 men, mostly troops of the 15th Independent Engineers on motor launches to reach shore. The cargo was unable to be unloaded. Although damaged, the ship was able to leave the area under reduced power and returning to Lae late in the evening for temporary repairs, then attempted to return to Buna to finish unloading.
Afterwards, the wreck of the Kotoku Maru remained level on the surface and was clearly visible from the air. Afterwards, the shipwreck mistaken as an active ship and inadvertently targeted by Allied aircraft bombing Salamaua.
After the Australian liberation of Salamaua during the middle of September 1942 the wreck was inspected. On July 15, 1944 Caledonian Salvor removed winches and other gear from the shipwreck.
Until at least 1945, the vessel remained in an upright position. At some point, the bow section was removed, cut off or severely damaged.
By the 1970s, the wreck was still largely intact, resting on its side. By the 1980s, only the stern section was visible above water and the rest of the wreck settled in 25m of water.
Today, the wreck is a good wreck for novice divers. The best season to dive is between November and April, when visibility is usually 10 to 20m, depending on the prevailing weather. Points of interest include the ammunition locker which still contains ammunition. This wreck also offers excellent night dives.
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