Nanshin Maru

The Story of her Sinking


The so-called "Black Island Wreck" can easily be identified as a small tanker converted to carry specific fuel (gasoline, Diesel, lube oil etc.) in small isolated tanks for replenishment of land-based depots. It is in fact of certain interest that there were more than 30 identical vessels of the "Nanshin Maru"-type operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy. These coastal tankers were not much conspicuous, quite slow and unarmed. However, due to their cargo they were vulnerable even to machine-gun fire from attacking aircraft.

According to U.S. sources "Nanshin Maru No. 27″ travelled in company of "Nanshin Maru No. 25″, "Nanshin Maru No. 3″as well as another vessel named barely "Nanshin" (53 gt.) which might have been some sort of tug boat. The submarine U.S.S. "Guitarro" attacked the small convoy on 27 Aug 1944 just 5-8 nautical miles north of Calawit Island (Busanga) sinking "Nanshin Maru No. 25″ in position 12°21N/119°55E. On the other vessels only medium damage was inflicted. It is assumed that the submarine attacked the Japanese vessels by her guns as torpedoes were too expensive to be wasted for minor enemy supply ships. "Nanshin Maru No. 27″ then continued to proceed to Busuanga and entered Illulucut Bay south of Calawit Island where she was probably anchored and repaired.
Obviously, the vessel was given up and drifted in the tidal current towards Malahon Island ("Black Island") where she ran aground and finally sank.


The Diving on the Wreck today

The Diving on the Wreck today:Relatively shallow, this dive is great for wreck-diving novices, photographers and night divers and has plenty of fish. There are many large scorpionfish and lionfish on the superstructure. Small schools of batfish, large schools of snappers, fusiliers, groupers, trumpetfish and angelfish consider the ship their home. The hull has lots of sponges and hydroids. The visibility is usually better than inside Coron Bay.
There is a nice, small dry cave on this beautiful island. We often end the day with a barbecue and some cold beers on the perfect white, sandy beach. There are coral reefs nearby the wreck and also on the western side of the island facing open ocean.