Ship History: Owned by Osaka Shosen Company and placed into service in August 1930. Used as a modern fast luxury freighter traveling from Tokyo to New York.
World War II: Re–commissioned as a freighter under contract to the Japanese Imperial Navy in October, 1941, and was used to transport war materials and personnel throughout the Pacific. On January 24,1943 the Tokai Maru was observed anchored in Apra Harbor off Guam. Spotted by USS Flying Fish, the submarine waited three days outside the harbor for the ship to leave port. But the Tokai Maru failed to move, so the USS Flying Fish fired two torpedoes, one ran aground, but the other struck the Tokai Maru causing considerable damage, but did not sink her.
Seven months later, the USS Snapper was patrolling west of Guam and spotted two ships in Apra Harbor. Unaware at the time that these were the damaged vessels, the Tokai Maru and NichiyoMaru. The submarine waited for one week, and then made an attack with enemy patrol vessels less than two miles away.
August 27, 1943 : The USS Snapper fired four torpedoes on August 27, 1943 at 3:23pm, three at the nearest ship,the Tokai Maru and fourth at Nichiyo Maru. Afterwards, the submarine immediately headed westward into safer waters. Over the next few hours numerous explosions were heard, and the Tokai was observed with the bow at an extreme “up angle”, indicating that the stern was on the bottom. A few minutes later the Tokai slipped beneath the surface, sinking into Apra Harbor.
Wreck Divers Special : The only place in the world where a WWI and a WWII ships make contact with each other. The SMS Cormoran and The Tokai Maru rest in Apra Harbor, Guam. Divers can touch both ships and the same time at a depth of around 100 feet. This is a every popular dive site and we are proud to offer the Tokai/Cormoran Diver PADI Distinctive Speciality Course. The course is only offered by MDA, give us a call for more information about this or other PADI courses.