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Harugiku Maru

Harugiku Maru

Operator Daido Kaiun
Classification Cargo ship (Captured ship, former Dutch Van Waerwijck)
Gross tonnage 3,039 tons
Departure point Belawan (port city of Medan), Sumatra Is.
Departure date 25 June 1944
Destination Pakanbaroe, Sumatra Is.
No. of POWs Brit, Aus, Dutch 720
Location of disaster SE of Medan, in the Malacca Strait
Date of disaster 26 June 1944
POW casualties 180
POW survivors 540
Photo Source UNK. If the copyright holder is known, please advice.

On 26 June 1944, the following day Harugiku Maru left Belawan, the port city of Medan, Sumatra, she joined a convoy composed of a tanker and freighter, and was steaming down the Strait of Malacca. Shortly before 10:00, approx. 100 NM southeast of Belawan, HMS Truculent sighted a convoy consisting of a 4,000-ton freighter and two small freighters escorted by two sub-chasers and one mine layer was steaming down the narrow strait. At 1112, Truculent fired four torpedoes, and two of which hit the freighter.

By the torpedo attack of Truculent, Harugiku Maru broke in two and sank with her stern lying on its side in the shallow water. The POWs were immediately allowed to evacuate over the side. Although she sank within 15 minutes of the torpedo hits, the loss of lives were not large, as the sea was calm and the Japanese did their best to rescue the POWs. However, at a later date, they were accused by the POW survivors of not having enough life-preserving equipment, and not providing treatment for the wounded.

On 28 June, 540 survivors were sent to the River-Valley Road Camp in Singapore. Due to a great number of the wounded, their assignment to the Sumatra Railroad was cancelled. Thereafter, they might have been incorporated into the groups for being sent to Japan.

Note: The Daido Kaiun's document "Captured ships" carries the following information. Departure point: Bankaransusu, Sumatra Destination: Singapore Location of disaster: North of Rimaburu Point (03-15N, 99-46E) [Names of the places are written in Romaji.]