The Story of her Sinking
Irako had been underway from Japan to Takao (i.e.Kaohsiung/Taiwan today) when she was damaged on 12 Aug 1944 by unknown cause. Carrying a deck load of reconnaissance water planes she arrived in Coron Bay around 22 Sep 1944 and tried to hide her presence between Tangat and Lusong Island.
(scroll down for the video)
In the morning of 24 Sep a number of fighter bombers of Airgroup 31 expended their bombs on the vessel. Already by their first strike they scored direct hits into the midship section. Set ablaze on the bridge superstructure the Irako began to sink over the bow. However, it took some time before she finally went down with considerable casualties.
The last picture of the Ekkai Maru
The Diving on the Wreck today
This big wreck is deep and only suitable for experienced divers. The main deck is at 33 meters, while the bottom is at 42 meters. Fortunately the Irako sits upright with a slight listing to port of 10° and a compass bearing of 260° gets you to the bow.
The massive impact of the bombs can clearly be seen on the partially collapsed superstructure.
Great penetration dives can be done here and at the deeper sections of the ship, but because of the depth and the risk of siltation this should be left to technical divers. Recreational divers can have a look inside the cargo holds, but should not be tempted to enter the deck levels here, leading deeper inside the ship and away from a safe ascent option.Large groupers inhabit the deeper parts of the wreck and snappers and schools of barracudas swim around the ship. There are not so many hard corals here, because of the depth, but you can see many black corals, sponges and soft corals.