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Tsushima Maru file photo [11664]

Tsushima Maru

BuilderRussell & Company, Greenock, Scotland, United Kingdom
Sunk22 Aug 1944
Displacement6,754 tons standard
Length446 feet


ww2dbasePassenger ship Tsushima Maru of the shipping company Nippon Yusen Kaisha was carrying a large number of Japanese civilians evacuating from Okinawa to Kagoshima when the convoy she was sailing with, Namo 103, was detected by American submarine USS Bowfin on 22 Aug 1944. Tsushima Maru was sunk near the island of Akusekijima some time between 2200 and 2230 hours, killing 2,251, which included 767 of the 826 children aboard. None of the surviving ships in the convoy stopped to rescue the survivors in fear of continued attacks by the enemy submarine. Tsushima Maru's wreck was located and identified in Dec 1997.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Dec 2010

Tsushima Maru Interactive Map


Tsushima Maru, 22 Aug 1944

Tsushima Maru Operational Timeline

22 Aug 1944 American submarine USS Bowfin attacked Japanese convoy Namo 103 and sank passenger ship Tsushima Maru near the island of Akusekijima. 2,251 aboard were killed, including 767 children; most of those killed were civilian evacuees from Okinawa.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Christine Jacobson says:
28 Jul 2021 12:55:04 PM

I cannot find any reason for the sinking of this ship. Why did the United States do it? Did they know it had so many children on board? Who was the person that ordered it?
2. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
28 Jul 2021 05:15:14 PM

Christine Jacobson (above):
Tsushima Maru was certainly a victim of the doctrine of unrestricted submarine warfare, practiced by all sides in World War II. The policy was controversial at the time and would probably not find its way into the rules of engagement today. Tsushima Maru’s cargo and passenger compliment was almost certainly unknown to Commander Corbus, commander of submarine USS Bowfin. The Bowfin action report is quite detailed and devotes far more attention to evading detection and setting up the attack than to what the nature of the targets were. He recognized that the convoy’s two large ships were cargo or troop ships but paid little attention to their types beyond that. He was there to sink Japanese shipping and that’s what he did. These were the rules of engagement that were equally well-understood by the Japanese. If placing so many civilians on one ship to ply these waters was putting them in such peril, part of the responsibility for their loss rests with those who placed them there.

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Tsushima Maru, 22 Aug 1944

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