Built during 1938 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as a passenger and cargo carrier for the Yamashita Kisen Line. Launched on May 3, 1939.
In September 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy took control of her and converted her to a military transport for moving special cargo. Served transporting war material between the Solomons and the Carolines until she was hit with two torpedoes fired by USS Drum in 1943. Afterwards, the repair can still be seen on the port side of hold number two.
The Yamagiri Maru was sunk by dive bombers from the carriers USS Yorktown and Bunker Hill in Truk Lagoon. American aircraft dropped bombs from
500', hits rocked the ship with a huge explosion sinking. They reported several hits and left a huge hole amidships that certainly finished off Yamagiri Maru.
The wreck is located at a depth of 50' to 110'. No. 5 hold contains 18.1" armor piercing shells for Yamato and Mushashi. Each shell weighs 3,219 lb. and could be fired 23 miles plus loading equipment, machinery and air compressors.
The aft hold has only 55 gallon drums. The bridge is empty, except for
some beer bottles, and a large encrusted bronze ship whistle. The forward
holds are empty but ship's name is clearly visible on the bow and there
is a large gun.
Lagoon of Lost Ships includes dive footage of this wreck in 1969
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January 10, 2018