The Momokawa Maru was a 354ft/107m, 3,829-ton passenger cargo ship built in 1941 by Kawasaki Dockyard Co. Ltd., Kobe, for the ‘K Line’ shipping company. They provided cargo services from Japan to European ports via the Suez canal, and to the US via the Panama canal. The word ‘Maru’ designates a merchant vessel.
In 1943 the Momokawa Maru was requisitioned by the Japanese Navy to serve as a Navy auxiliary, with ties to the Yokosuka Transportation Section. During 1943 she transported cargoes of concrete, fuel drums, bunker coal, aviation fuel drums, sampans and landing barges between Japan and Micronesia.
On February 17th 1944, the Momokawa Maru was anchored at the northern end of the 4th fleet anchorage. She sustained light damage from plane attacks (Bunker Hill, Yorktown and Essex). The following day Bunker Hill SB2Cs attacked a cargo ship ¼ mile off the SE tip of Doublon. The 1000lb bomb hit amidships causing a huge fire and explosion, leaving only the tip above water by the time the planes retired. Japanese reports describe the ship burning for a long time before finally sinking. Only one crewman was listed as killed.
The Momokawa Maru lies on her port side in 130-150ft/40-45m of water only ½ mile from Tonoas (Doublon). Inside the forward holds you can find fuel drums, aircraft parts such as radial engines, wings, propeller blades, wing/belly fuel tanks as well as a disassembled entire plane! At least 3 trucks can be found in the second hold, with more trucks and plane parts in hold No 3.
The telegraph, speaker tubes and rudder stand can still be found in the bridge.
The aft holds are mostly empty, and up on the poop deck there’s a 75mm field gun.