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The Kensho Maru - Truk Lagoon

Published on: 18th February, 2015 | Travel and Exploration
The Kensho Maru was a passenger / cargo ship serving the Imperial Japanese navy during World War 2. Its resting place is Chukk Lagoon, more commonly called and referred to as Truk lagoon.

For those who are unfamiliar with Truk Lagoon, it is located in the Federated states of Micronesia, About 1800 km north-east of Papua New Guinea. It is considered amongst divers to be “wreck diving heaven” due to the enormous number of shipwrecks and planes sunk in close proximity within the lagoon.  

Japan used the area a major logistical air and sea base during the war. The Atoll was significant to both sides as it was the  only major airbase with the capability of reaching the Marshall Islands. This along with the base providing logistical support to other Japanese strongholds made this a crucial target for the Americans.

In February 1944 when the Americans launched their 2 day operation (16/17 ), code named Hailstone, the Kensho Maru soon became one of its casualties. She was in the lagoon seeking repairs for major damage when she fell victim to a bomb dropped by aircraft from the USS Yorktown on the stern. Whilst the bomb failed to sink her, an attack the following day would seal her fate.

 


 
 
 
 Operation Hailstorm   USS Brunker Hill

 

She was hit amidships by a torpedo launched from aircraft from the USS Enterprise, USS Monterey and USS Brunker Hill. 

She was discovered in 1980 by Klaus Lindermann, some records point to the Cousteau expedition finding her first. The wreck, located between the Fefan and Wendo islands is situated in approximately 36 meters of water. It is resting upright with 20 degree port list and is in relatively good shape although age is starting to get to the wreck.

 
 
 
 Location of the Kensho Maru   Picture showing the list of the wreck - Photo Peter Alexander

This wreck averaging 25 meters, can be dived by divers with their advanced certification, keeping in mind not to exceed your certification level. If you had your deep diver certification, this would be a perfect wreck for to dive upon. Obviously, if you were certified as a technical diver, you would have a lot more time and therefore a lot more enjoyment of the wreck as there is some amazing sites to see.

It is well known by divers, especially photographers for its engine room, you would be hard pressed to find a better one in the lagoon, especially one this big. The height and width plus with the addition of the skylight makes for some truly special photos.

Around the wreck, you may find binoculars, radio equipment, telegraph, compasses, beer and saki bottles. The lagoon has been declared an underwater museum. Souvenir taking of relics from the area are prohibited by law.

 

To join the TEC Divers expedition in June, contact rob@tecdivers.com.au for more information. 

 
 Photo of Robert Main & Jason Caldwell inside the Engine Room
 - photos by  Peter Alexander
    Robert Main - by  Peter Alexander

 

 

AUTHOR

Cameron Bull

TEC Instructor, JJ-CCR Diver, Cave Diver