The Hoki Maru was built in 1921, by William Denny & Brothers, Dumbarton, Scotland and was the first ship they had designed for diesel propulsion. Originally christened the British-New Zealand ship M/V Hauraki, under the ownership of the Union Steamship Corporation of New Zealand.
When hostilities began on December 7, 1941 Hauraki was on a run from Fremantle to Colombo. Unfortunately she was sighted and captured by the Japanese merchant raiders Aikoku and Hokoku Maru (also sunk at Truk). The crew was interned in the Ofuna Work Camp and brutalized by forced labor and deprivation until their liberation in 1945.
The Japanese renamed the ship the Hoki Maru on December 31, 1942 and designated her as a special transport. She continued to transport war material throughout the war. In late January 1944, she left Yokohama with coal, supplies and personnel for Truk. Much of the construction equipment in her holds is thought to have been captured in the Philippine Islands. She was caught in the lagoon during the “Hailstone” attack and sunk.
The Hoki Maru is an infrequently visited wreck due the massive damage she suffered and the leaking aviation fuel in her holds. However, her cargo of intact road building vehicles makes her worth the visit. She now lies in 160 fsw.
- Hoki Maru
- Displacement: 7,112 tons
- Length: 450 feet
- Beam: 58 feet
- Engine: 2 North British Diesel Co. diesel
- Max Speed: 16 kts.
- Launched: 28 NOV 1921.