Ghost Fleet Of Truk Lagoon (Japanese Ships That Haunt Chuuk Lagoon)

Ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon - Japanese Ships That Haunt Chuuk Lagoon

Around 53 ships sunk, 275 aircraft destroyed and more than 4,500 killed during Operation Hailstone

It was during World War II that Truk Lagoon was attacked by US Forces during Operation Hailstone. Truk Lagoon battle Operation Hailstone raged for a full 36 hours. During this battle the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) ships that were moored in Truk Lagoon were destroyed and sunk.

The Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon is so named because of the large numbers of Japanese ships that were sunk in World War II with crew still on board. Discover and dive the Ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon in Micronesia with wrecks mostly around the Dublon, Eten, Fefan and Uman islands.

If you would like to dive Truk Lagoon, you can find Truk Lagoon liveaboards here:

Truk Lagoon dive liveaboards table

This list of Truk Lagoon liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.

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Total Records Found: 2, showing 7 per page
Liveaboard main photoDiscover LiveaboardCustomer Review Rating Out of 10SDE Lux Rating %Flexible BookingDive CoursesDietary RequirementsNitroxGear Rental
Review Link: SS Thorfinn; Booking Link: SS Thorfinn 8.8 88 YES YES YES YES YES
Review Link: MV Truk Master; Booking Link: MV Truk Master 7.9 65 YES NO YES YES YES

The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.

Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.

How many ships were sunk in Truk Lagoon?

I-169 Submarine wreck of Truk Lagoon Details Of Truk Lagoon Wrecks

Only days before the US led attack on Truk Lagoon, the Japanese got wind of it through intelligence leaks. As a result, most of their larger warships were withdrawn from Truk Lagoon. This included their large aircraft carriers.

Despite the Japanese withdrawal operation, 53 ships were still sunk in February 1944 at Truk Lagoon. This included the sinking of twelve smaller Japanese light cruisers, destroyers, and auxiliaries together with and thirty-two merchant ships.

Along with the IJN ships that were destroyed in the same battle, the Japanese aircraft, battle tanks and other World War II artefacts make Truk Lagoon the best historic dive site in the world. It is these wrecks that make up the Ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon.

The Imperial Japanese Navy left only three warships to protect their remaining merchant ships. These include the Oite Destroyer, the Fumizuki Destroyer and the I-169 Submarine. All three warships were sunk by US forces. These lie on the sea bed in Chuuk Lagoon.

All three wrecks are available to dive too and are some of the most popular wrecks of the ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon.

Yamagiri Maru wreck - Human Skull large

The ghosts that haunt Chuuk Lagoon

There are still the human remains of a few of the personal that died during the Truk Lagoon battle. This includes skeletons and skulls on a number of the wrecks.

It is these human remains that remind us of the ghostly past and of what happened at Truk Lagoon all those years ago.

It was Jacques Cousteau and his film crew who first discovered the human remains of Japanese sailors. His film in 1969 Lagoon of Lost Ships explored the wrecks of Truk Lagoon.

At that time, many of the sunken ships were then still full of bodies. As more wreck divers brought attention to the dive site, Japan began recovery efforts. Most of the bodies have now been removed and returned to Japan for burial. But as noted above, a few still remain.

All divers must respect these wrecks when diving. In fact the artefacts are protected. Whilst divers are allowed to penetrate the shipwrecks, they are forbidden from removing artefacts.

Be warned, there are fines and a possible jail sentence await those who disobey these laws of Chuuk Lagoon.

More Reading: Recovery of the Junkers Jumo 211 (recovery of underwater artifacts)

I hope you enjoyed this article about Ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Ghost fleet of Truk Lagoon), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

Ghost Fleet Of Truk Lagoon (Japanese Ships That Haunt Chuuk Lagoon)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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