Sankisan Maru.

The story of the moment of the destruction of the Sankisan Maru is one that has created a powerful impression on me. The Sankisan was full of military ordnance. That is mines, six inch artillery shells, boxes of magazines for machine guns and anti aircraft guns, boxes of handgrenades and medical equipment. During Operation Hailstorm on Feb 17, 1944, it was struck on the starboard aft side. (the right side towards the stern of the ship) either by a one thousand pound bomb or a torpedo from an Americain bomber from the Aircraftcarrier Bunker Hill. Immediately following the initial blast the munitions inside began to explode in a series of what must have been cascading explosions like athe progressive firing of a multiple fire cracker. In other words, there must have been repeated explosions from inside the holds of the ship. The massive fires on board and the extreme heat cooked the mines and artillery shells and then the hand grenades and bullets. They began to fire off at random by the thousands. It is almostly impossible to imagine the noise, the carnage and the scene of total devastation experienced on the wreck. I visualise a nineteen year old Japanese sailor on the deck near the bow and imagine what he saw for the few seconds before he wpould have been blown to smithereens.

 

 

 

 

sanki sankisan

 

The holds of the Sankisan are filled with machine gun and anti aircraft bullets. Fortunatley for divers, the mines and artillery shells were removed to reduce the danger of diving on the munition supply ship.

The Sankisan Maru had trucks and fourteen cylinder aircraft engines stored within its forward holds.

Niall, the Operations manager on the Truk Siren can be seen here inspecting the remains of the truck.

sanki sankisan

The deck of the Sankisan has rust holes in it making windows filled with corals and sponges and the beautiful rusty colours. Tom was the Trip Director on board the Truk Siren before it was damaged in the Cyclone of Mar 30 2015.

Tropical corals have overgrown the mast of the Sankisan making it a favorite of underwater photographers.
 
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