Scuba Dive The Shinkoku Maru Wreck Of Truk Lagoon (Details Of Truk Lagoon Wrecks)

Shinkoku Maru Wreck - Truk or Chuuk Lagoon large
Fan Coral on one of Shinkoku Maru‘s telegraphs

Shinkoku Maru was a tanker and was sunk during Operation Hailstone

This short article is about Shinkoku Maru wreck and provides a few basic details about this Japanese World War II ship wreck. She is one of the many Truk Lagoon wrecks for scuba divers to enjoy in Chuuk Lagoon (Formerly Truk Lagoon).

Scuba dive the Shinkoku Maru wreck of Truk Lagoon: Scuba dive the Shinkoku Maru wreck in Truk Lagoon. It’s 12-40 metres (40-130 feet) deep and suitable for recreational divers. Shinkoku Maru was a 10,030 ton tanker and 152 metres (500 feet) long. Best for soft and hard corals and one of Truk Lagoon wrecks with human remains and skeletal parts.

Truk Lagoon is the name these Pacific lagoons and islands were known in 1944 when they were in Japanese occupation. However, the name of Truk Lagoon was changed in 1990 to Chuuk Lagoon.

Scuba divers seem to use these two names synonymously. Whilst the correct name is Chuuk Lagoon, at the time these ship wrecks were sunk it was known as Truk Lagoon. These famous wrecks are now dived by scuba divers across the world.

Scuba dive Truk Lagoon and Shinkoku Maru wreck by liveaboard:

Truk Lagoon Wreck - Shinkoku Maru large
Engine Controls Shinkoku Maru

Details of Shinkoku Maru wreck

The two words that make up the name ‘Shinkoku Maru‘ both have meaning.

  • The word ‘Shinkoku‘ means ‘Divine Country‘.
  • Whereas ‘Maru‘ means ‘Merchant vessel‘ in Japanese ship naming convention.

Which means when you dive the Shinkoku Maru wreck you’re diving the ‘Divine Country Merchant Vessel‘.

  • She was a tanker weighing 10,030 tons.
  • 152 metres (500 feet) long.
  • She was a Japanese fleet refuelling tanker and used to follow the fleet around the south Pacific.
  • One of the largest of the Truk Lagoon Wrecks.
  • She was built by the Kawasaki Dockyard Co and was sunk on the first day of Operation Hailstone on 17th February 1944.
  • The Shinkoku Maru was supposed to have left Truk Lagoon at the time of the attack, but was prevented from doing so as she was having work done on her engines at the time.
  • She sits at a maximum depth of between 12-40 metres (40-130 feet).
  • When she first sank the top of her mast was still showing out of the top of the water. But this has since been cut off to allow surface vessels safe passage.

To see the location of the Shinkoku Maru wreck on the map, please follow this link to: Truk Lagoon wreck map.

Shinkoku Maru ship wreck - Large bow gun covered in coral
Shinkoku Maru large bow gun almost invisible from coral cover

Comments on Shinkoku Maru ship wreck

There’s plenty to see on the Shinkoku Maru wreck. This includes to a depth of around 20 metres too. Shinkoku Maru wreck is one of the wrecks divers can penetrate. But always be careful when diving inside wrecks.

The artefacts you’ll find include:

  • Urinals inside the toilets or washrooms.
  • Bottles of beer and Sake.
  • Unexploded bombs.
  • A large bow gun. But this bow gun is enshrouded in so much coral that it’s almost invisible and almost unrecognisable as a gun.

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

Shinkoku Maru - an artificial reef and sea of life
Sea Anemone and clown fish on Shinkoku Maru

Shinkoku Maru – an artificial reef and sea of life

But one of the highlights of the Shinkoku Maru is the soft corals, anemones, sponges and Gorgonian fan corals.

You’ll see from the first image and the ships telegraph there’s plenty of growth. The whole of this ship has become a living artificial reef system. This of course in itself attracts plenty of other coral reef fish and other sea creatures. Other sea creatures in sharks and rays, which include the spotted eagle ray.

The fact that corals have flourished so much on the Shinkoku Maru wreck makes it probably one of the most attractive sights in the Pacific as far a coral and life goes.

Human remains and skeletons of Shinkoku Maru
Human skeletal bones and medical bottles of Shinkoku Maru

Human remains and skeletons of Shinkoku Maru wreck

In addition to the beautiful corals and sea life on this Truk Lagoon Wreck, there are also human remains that belie the history of what happened at Truk Lagoon in World War II.

These human remains include skeleton parts. The above image that shows human remains is in the ship’s medical centre. The human bones are on an operating table inside the ship, alongside medical bottles.

Be prepared for this sight when you’re diving. It’s strange how seeing certain things underwater can have strange effects on you. Especially for the first time. This is particularly true if you may be suffering from nitrogen narcosis or ‘The Narcs‘.

The last thing you want to happen is to panic underwater. Especially at depth and inside a wreck. This may in itself bring on diving claustrophobia.

Night diving the Shinkoku Maru wreck

The Shinkoku Maru wreck is one of the wrecks that is ideal for a night dive. This is because you can see plenty of this artificial reef at reasonably shallow depths of between 15-20 metres (50-66 feet).

If you like to dive at night, then this is one to add to your list of night dives.

To understand more about what happened at Truk Lagoon, please take a read of this article what happened at Truk Lagoon in 1944.

Shinkoku Maru Truck Lagoon wreck video

This is a video of Shinkoku Maru truck Lagoon wreck. The video is narrated by Captain Lance Higgs from Truk Lagoon liveaboard S.S. Thorfinn.

I hope you enjoyed this article about Shinkoku Maru ship wreck 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 Shinkoku Maru wreck 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!

Scuba Dive The Shinkoku Maru Wreck Of Truk Lagoon (Details Of Truk Lagoon Wrecks)
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