SS Rakuyō Maru

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Name: Rakuyo Maru
Owner: Nippon Yusen Kisen Kaisha
Port of registry: Tokyo
Builder: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Company, Nagasaki
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk: 12 Sept 1944
General characteristics
Tonnage: 9,419 GRT
Length: 460 feet (140 m)[1]
Beam: 60 feet (18 m)
Draught: 40.5 feet (12.3 m)
Installed power: 1153 nhp
Propulsion: Steam turbines, twin screw
Speed: 16.5 knots

SS Rakuyo Maru (楽洋丸) was a passenger cargo ship built in 1921 by the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding & Engineering Company, Nagasaki for Nippon Yusen Kisen Kaisha.

Service history[edit]

The troopship was part of convoy HI-72 and transporting 1,317 Australian and British prisoners of war (POWs) from Singapore to Formosa (Taiwan). Another ship in the convoy was SS Kachidoki Maru with another 950 Allied POWs and 1,095 Japanese on board.[2]

On the morning of 12 September 1944, the convoy was attacked in the Luzon Strait by a wolfpack consisting of three US submarines: Growler, Pampanito and USS Sealion. Rakuyō Maru was torpedoed by Sealion and sunk towards the evening. The Kachidoki Maru was also sunk with 488 people killed, mostly POW's. The Japanese survivors of the Rakuyō Maru were rescued by an escort vessel, leaving POWs in the water with rafts and some abandoned boats. A total of 1,159 POWs died, of whom some 350 in lifeboats were bombarded and killed by a Japanese navy vessel the next day when they were rowing towards land.[3] On 15 September, the three submarines returned to the area and rescued 149 surviving POWs who were on rafts.[4] Four others died before they could be landed at Tanapag Harbor, Saipan, in the Mariana Islands.[3][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lloyd's Register 1942-43" (PDF). plimsollshipdata. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "KACHIDOKI MARU Tabular Record of Movement". Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  3. ^ a b Prisoners of War of Japanese 1942-45: Surviving the sinking of the Rakuyo Maru Linked 2015-02-20
  4. ^ Allbury, A. G. Bamboo and Bushido London Viking Press 1955 pp225-52 - survivor account.
  5. ^ "Sealion". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 

External links[edit]