pic courtesy of http://www.michaelmcfadyenscuba.info
The Kinugawa Maru was built in 1931 by Mitsubishi for its owner the Toyo Kaiun K.K.. She was the pride of Toyo Kaiun´s Cargo fleet. Full speed the Kinugawa Maru could reach 16knots and comfortingly cruised at a speed of 13knots. She was used to ship large amounts of cargo through the South Pacific and on the main cargo routes from Japan to NewYork.
Until the Imperial Japanese Army started its war preparation and called in the big cargo ships to serve there country. From than on the Kinugawa Maru transported troops and supply between the Pacific Islands.
On the 13th November 1942 the Kinugawa Maru joined 11 other Cargo Ships and their escort of Destroyers on another mission to transport some 7.000 troops and supply from New Georgia Islands to Guadalcanal.
In the early morning of the 14th November 1942 the convoy was spotted by an American Recon Plane which consequently radioed course and heading to the USS Enterprise – an American Aircraft Carrier.
The following air strike in the afternoon was survived only by 4 of the 12 Cargo Ships and a few small Destroyers.
The Crew on board the Kinugawa Maru prepared to unload their cargo during the night.
Due to low tide unloading took longer than expected and kept all 4 Cargo Ships on the Beach busy.
In the early morning hours of the 15th November 1942 US Marine Shore Batteries spotted the beached Ships and immediately opened fire on them. Quickly Airstrikes from Henderson Field and the Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise joined the fight as well as the Destroyer USS Meade.
By noon all four japanese Cargo Ships were on fire and started to sink.
The Crew of the Kinugawa Maru left the ship and escaped ashore. While the ship kept burning and exploding for many hours after the battle it fell on its Starboard side and sunk.
Behind stayed the wreck.
The shallow water parts of the Kinugawa Maru wreck was than salvaged in the 1960´s and 1970´s for its metal. It still is an amazing Wreck Dive Site with a fully intact coral reef in the shallow and an impressively intact wreck.