This vessel was sunk just outside Subic Bay on March 2, 1942 by Bataan based USAAF P-40 Warhawks.She was a whaler before being requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy and now lies in 70 meters of water in a deteriorated state.
The Centaur was formerly a Blue Funnel passenger, cargo ship built in Britain in 1924 for special trade between Western Australia and Singapore.In November 1941 the ship had also rescued survivors from the German raider Kormoran after it had sunk and been sunk by HMAS Sydney.In January 1943 she began conversion into a hospital ship in Melbourne with the aim of ferrying patients between Port Moresby and Townsville and relaunched on March 12, 1943.After completing only two voyages with patients, the Centaur sailed on her ill-fated third and final voyage, unescorted from Sydney at 0945 hours on May 12, 1943 with her normal staff and crew.At approximately 0400 hours on May 14, 1943 the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine about 50 miles ENE of Brisbane. The sinking was regarded as an atrocity as the Centaur had been appropriately lit and marked as a hospital ship and of the 332 medical personnel and civilian crew onboard, 268 died, including 11 of the 12 nurses.Ship’s DetailsBuilder: Tsurumi Seitetsu ZosenOwner:Kyokuyo Hogei KKCall Sign:JUAMOfficial Number:45199Laid Down: 04/06/1938Launched: 12/08/1938Completed (385 grt):03/10/1938Requisitioned:05/10/1940Service: SC Division 53, 2nd Base Force, Third Fleet. 12/1941Fate: Sunk by US aircraft in Subic Bay, Luzon. 02/03/1942Removed from Navy list: 01/04/1942Commanding Officers:Reserve Lt. Kawakami Isamu 15/01/1941 to 02/03/1942Below is our high resolution side scan sonar imaging of the wreck:
The Kyo Maru No. 11 also has some Australian history.Newspaper clipping from “The Argus” dated May 20, 1943:
And finally, here is video footage of the wreck, taken by the Sea Scan Survey dive team:
Below is a model of the Kyo Maru, after conversion: