The Fujikawa Maru is one of the lagoon’s most famous wrecks. Covered in lush coral this ship was built in 1938 as a passenger cargo ship that carried raw silk and cotton between South America and India. Commissioned into the Japanese Navy in 1940 and outfitted with 15cm (6in) guns on her bow and stern, she was tasked for transportation, including the delivery of aircraft and aircraft parts to Pacific islands.
Carrying planes to Truk, the Fujikwawa Maru offloaded thirty B5N2 bombers (Jill planes) which lay in pieces on Eten Airfield (Eten Island) during Operation Hailstone. They were unable to help defend against the Americans. Bombed by air attacks on February 17th, the Fujikawa was still afloat on the 18th. Essex dive bombers hit the port quarter with a 1000 pound bomb and finally two Monterey airplanes attacked and witnessed a huge explosion and the ship in flames.
Still aboard the ship during the attack were three Zero fighter planes in cargo hold #2 and a fourth plane that is possibly an A6M “Claude” fighter, the only known surviving plane of that type. The Fujikawa sits upright and we followed our dive guide from the surface down into cargo hold #2 to see these mostly intact planes. In the clear water the planes look as if a pilot could sit in them today and fly right out of the ocean and back into the air. We also saw spare wings and fuel drums.
Often boasted as one of the most beautiful wrecks in the lagoon, this beautiful ship is covered in pink and white soft coral, blue sponges and every inch of it is covered in different colored marine life. On the deck a plaque dedicates the preservation and respect of the Fujikawa and other wrecks in the lagoon. Collections of artifacts from the inside are gathered on different parts of the ship including china with Japanese brandings. Schools of tuna and smaller fish circle the wreck, and a large barracuda seemed to be standing guard over the bow gun.
Often considered one of the best wreck penetrations, much of the superstructure of the Fujikawa Maru has collapsed recently, making it very difficult and potentially dangerous to enter the engine room due to its instability.
- Shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon, list with all known shipwrecks in Chuuk.
- Ship graveyard in Truk Lagoon, stunning pictures and informative article on the Ghost Fleet of Chuuk.
- Airplane wrecks in Truk Lagoon, next to dozens of Japanese vessels also Japanese airplane wrecks can be found in Chuuk Lagoon.
- Nippo Maru, (aka Nichiho Maru) was torpedoed and sunk in the Balabac Strait west of the Palawan Passage.
- San Fransico Maru, sunk on the 18th of February, 1944 taking 5 crewmen with her.
- Rio de Janeiro Maru, bombed and damaged in the Pacific Ocean east of Umon Island, Truk by United States Navy aircraft. She sank the next day.
- Heian Maru, ocean liner converted into a submarine tender, sunk in February 1944.
- Kiyosumi Maru, auxiliary cruiser which was sunk in the Pacific Ocean off Fefan Island, Truk by United States Navy aircraft.
- Yamagiri Maru, sank by dive bombers from the Yorktown and Bunker Hill.
- Fumitsuki Destroyer, one of only two made-for-war ships sunk in Chuuk.
- Shinkoku Maru, naval tanker that was sunk in February, 1944.
- Hoki Maru, a British/New Zealand cargo and passenger ship launched in 1921 and seized by the Japanese in 1942. Sunk.
- Bailey, Dan E.,: WWII Wrecks of the Kwajalein and Truk Lagoons (Paperback). North Valley Diver Pubns.
- Bailey, Dan E.: World War II Wrecks of the Truk Lagoon (Hardcover). North Valley Diver Pubns.
- Lindemann, Klaus: Hailstorm Over Truk Lagoon: Operations Against Truk by Carrier Task Force 58, 17 and 18 February 1944, and the Shipwrecks of World War II (Hardcover). Wipf & Stock Pub.
- MacDonald, Rod: Dive Truk Lagoon: The Japanese WWII Pacific Shipwrecks (Hardcover). Whittles Publishing.
- Franko Maps Ltd: Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon Dive & Wreck Map & Operation Hailstone Franko Maps (Maps)
- Gerken, Mike: The Wrecks of Truk Lagoon – A Documentary Film (DVD). Evolution Underwater Imaging LLC.