The Oite was a 327ft/99m, 1,523-ton Kamikaze Class Destroyer built in 1924 by the Uraga Dock Co., Ltd of Tokyo, Japan. The poetic meaning of the name ‘Oite’ translates to ‘wind from the back’ or tailwind. Her homeport was Sasebo, and she had a maximum speed of 37.3 knots and a range of 3,600 miles (at 14 knots). She was powered by 2-shaft Parsons geared turbines, and 4 Kampon boilers. She carried a complement of 148 men and officers, and was armed with three 4.7-inch DP deck guns, two 7.7mm guns, 2 pairs of 21-inch torpedo tubes, 4 depth charge throwers, and 18 depth charges.
She was assigned to DesDiv 29, DesRon 6 under the 4th Mandate Fleet Command. She served an active role in the Japanese war effort providing escort services in 1941 and 1942 for the first and second Wake Island invasions, the Rabaul Invasion Force, the New Britain Invasion Force, the Lae/Salamua Invasion Force, the Port Moresby Invasion Force, and ‘Tokyo Express’ runs to bombard U.S. positions and reinforce Japanese garrisons at Guadalcanal. Up until Operation Hailstorm, the Oite provided various convoy escort duties. On one such escort duty on the way from Truk to the Empire she was struck by a dud torpedo from the submarine USS Haddock during a 4-torpedo night-time attack suffering only minor damage.
In February of 1944 the Oite was on her way to Japan from Truk with the light cruiser Agano, when the submarine USS Skate torpedoed the Agano. Survivors were brought aboard the Oite, and she was ordered to return to Truk after the Agano sank. The Oite arrived on February 18th 1944 via the North Pass while Truk was under attack. During strafing attacks that raked the bridge setting it afire by planes from the USS Bunker Hill and USS Monterey, the captain was killed. Shortly thereafter torpedo bombers from the USDS Bunker Hill hit her with a single torpedo amidships while she was executing a radical high-speed maneuver. The Oite was blown in half and immediately sank. Out of the ship’s complement of 148 plus the survivors of the Agano, only 20 survived.
The Oite sits in 210ft/64m of water in an isolated location towards the north end of the lagoon. The ship is in 2 pieces with the stern upright, while the bow lies inverted approximately 35m away. With usually very good visibility, and many artifacts to see this wreck is a must do for technical divers. Her twin propellers can still be seen in the sand. On the stern there’s depth charge throwers with depth charges loaded into a rack nearby, 2 anti aircraft guns and a 4.7’’ main battery gun. Located on the sand you can find the torpedo launchers with torpedoes loaded inside.
As the foreship lies upside down it’s not possible to penetrate the wheelhouse. However it is possible to swim inside where you can find china, records (vinyl) as well as human remains.