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  MV Malaita

3,310 Tons

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AWM August 29, 1940

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AWM August 30, 1942

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AWM September 1942

Ship History
Owned by Burns Philp & Co. as MV Malaita in honor of Malaita Island. Prewar, operated in New Guinea as a steamship and trade vessel.

Wartime History
Departed Sydney on December 9, 1941 was a party of six signallers and other Army personnel and supplies bound for "Lark Force" stationed at Rabaul. The vessel traveled via Samarai, Tulagi, Soraken and the Buka Passage during Janauary 1942 before rearching Rabaul.

On August 29, 1942 at 11:34 MV Malaita, escorted by destroyer HMAS Arunta, departed Port Moresby to escape enemy air raids bound for Cairns. At 1210, near the entrance to Fairfax Harbor at roughly at 9° 50' S, 144° 55' E MV Malaita was hit below the bridge on her starboard side by a torpedoe fired by Japanese submarine RO-33 and takes on a heavy list to starboard. Only one crew member was wounded, the Chief Steward had both legs broken. Aboard, the cabin, lounge area and deck fittings were damaged by the blast. By 12:45, the crew abandons ship fearing she is about to capsize, but later re-boarded and the damaged vessel was towed back to Port Moresby.

During September 1942, the hull was repaired at Mort's Dock, Sydney.

Note, another vessel, steamship MV Malaita of 929 gross tons was also owned and registered to Burns Philp & Co
Wrecks & Reefs page 199 - 207
AWM PR00072 Burns Philp and Company Ltd account of the activity of three vessels
Passengers In History - Malaita

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Last Updated
August 18, 2018


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