Wooden hulled ketch (two masted) with a four cylinder diesel engine. Assigned to the British colonial administration as a Royal Colony Ship (RCS) and used in the Gilbert Islands, Ellice Islands and Line Islands.
During January 1941, Nimanoa visited Nikumaroro and during the spring was overhauled at Suva. The crew included: Captain Edward Harness with first mate Harold Stead.
On December 9, 1941, Nimanoa was moored in Tarawa
Lagoon. When the Japanese occupied the area, Captain Edward Harness, was ashore. Aboard, first mate Harold Stead, wrecked the engine and cut the anchor line, allowing the ship to drift onto the reef, leaving it partially submerged to the west of the pier off Tarawa (Betio). A Japanese aircraft attacked the damaged ship, destroying it.
The shipwreck of the Nimanoa remains underwater in Tarawa
Lagoon. The wooden hull and engine are roughly 400 yards to the west of the Saidu Maru.
"Nimanoa is located to the east, some 400 yards or so of this steel wreck is a large wooden vessel broken up in about 15' of water with copper sheathed hull and a large four cylinder diesel engine and
much ship junk all tangled up. It was a great place to catch the painted lobsters."
Note, this ship's name is sometimes listed incorrectly as "Niminoa" also the Saidu Maru is often confused with this shipwreck
Kiribati: Aspects of History page 90
Conflict in Kiribati by Peter McQuarrie University of Canterbury, 2000
RCS Nimanoa Stamp, 2s issued by the Gilbert and Ellice Island Colony, King, Jan 14, 1939
Thanks to Stan
Gajda and Katherine Cummings for additional information
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May 22, 2017