Distance from Koror
10 miles (16 km), 20 minutes by speedboat.
Level of Diving Experience
Intermediate to advance with Wreck Diver Certification. This is not a dive for Recreational Diver; it is for serious well-trained wreck divers only.
Diving Depth Summary
The ship is sitting upright on the bottom at 115 feet (35 m) with her bow pointing toward the northeast, the deck is at 90 feet (30 m) and it is 110 feet (33 m) into the holds.
15-45 feet (5-15 m) on a good day.
Urukthapel anchorage, southeast of Koror.
Type: Converted Motor Torpedo Boat Tender
Length: 370 feet (113 m).
Beam: 54 feet (16 m).
Tonnage: 4, 950 tons.
Built: 1937 by Osaka Iron Works, Osaka, Japan.
The Kamikaze Maru is a medium-size freighter converted to a torpedo transport and repair vessel to service Long Lance Torpedoes. The ship was sunk during operation DESECRATE ONE, March 30-31, 1944. The Kamikaze Maru suffered a series of explosions that tore open the hull and she was set a fire before sinking. Several attempts have been made to salvage this wreck. Records show that the Fujita Salvage Company removed most of the deck structures, but because the ship still held torpedoes she was never completely salvaged. Most of the damage seen today to the Kamikaze Maru was done in a later attempt to salvage scrap metal from the ship. It is speculated that the scavengers set explosive charges to the deck and hull in many places in an attempt to make succeeded only in further damaging the hull, deck, and holds.
The ship is resting in deep silt. No coral reef structure is found ear the ship.
The wreck has an abundance of fish life. Rainbow Runners, Sergeant Majors, Moorish idols, occasional barracuda, batfish, etc. The wreck itself has plums of Black Coral, Wire Corals, and other sessile growth covering the remaining structures of the ship.
The holds of the ship still contain a number of long and some high-pressure oxygen vessels and compressors. Although the wreck lies within a protected area, the wreck is described as a “dirty wreck” due to the amount of silt that has built up on a wreck.
This wreck was not rediscovered until the 1980’s when a private yacht was monitoring out of the harbor and the sea beneath them came alive with huge bubbles of air rising from below. The Yacht’s crew notified the authorities and noted WWII Wreck Expert Klaus Lindemann dove on the site several days later and identified the source of the explosion to be from the then “lost” Kamikaze Maru.
IMPORTANT: Diving this wreck should be attempted ONLY by those divers who are serious wreck historians. The wreck is potentially very dangerous due to the number of torpedoes still on board the ship and the remaining high-pressured cylinders inside the cargo holds and on deck that can spontaneously explode (as happened in the mid 1980’s). On this ship, as with all ship and plane wrecks in Palau waters, live ammunitions can be found. A word of caution: DO NOT PICK UP ANY AMMUNITION!!!! Due to the age of the bullets, bombs and mortars, etc. these pieces of history are very unstable and can explode.