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"AITEN MARU - 10,000 nautical miles to Japan!" Topic

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355 hits since 5 Dec 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Dec 2017 9:17 p.m. PST

Many interesting histoires here…

"By July 1945, the need for aviation gasoline was so desperate that IJN authorities planned one final daring attempt to send out a tanker from Singapore to Japan. As all usual sea lanes to Japan were under complete control of Allied air and sea forces it was necessary to work out a unique course which meant a gigantic detour, but at the same time was considered to be the safest one possible. The planned route was from Singapore via Bangka Strait southward through Sunda Strait, then southward from Java down the west coast of Australia, then eastward far off the south coast of Australia, then northward through the central part of the Tasman Sea, pass between New Caledonia and Fiji, pass Wake to the east. The final destination selected was the port of Kushiro on Hokkaido. This meant a distance of about 10,000 nautical miles!

At this stage of the war there hardly remained any suitable tankers in the Singapore area. Finally, it was decided that the diesel motor tanker AITEN MARU (2087 grt) should be used for this daring undertaking. AITEN MARU had been the former Dutch ALDEGONDA, owned by the Nederlandsch-IndischeTankstoombootMaatschappij (N.I.T.). Since autumn 1939, ALDEGONDA had been in regular service for the Royal Netherlands Navy as auxiliary naval tanker TAN 5. Under the command of Captain A. Penning, ALDEGONDA arrived at Surabaya from Batavia on 31 January 1942. On 2 March 1942, at Surabaya, ALDEGONDA was finally scuttled by her own crew.

In July 1942, ALDEGONDA was refloated by the Japanese and underwent repairs at the IJN's 102nd Contruction & Repair Section at Surabaya. On 5 August 1942, she was officially entrusted to the shipping section of Mitsubishi Shoji, K.K. and on 31 August 1942 renamed AITEN MARU. On 8 September 1942, repairs were completed by 102nd Construction & Repair Section. On 25 September 1942, she was officially taken over by Mitsubishi Shoji, K.K. at Surabaya, call sign JWJY. Thereafter, she was time-chartered by the IJN and attached to the 8th Fleet. On 12 October 1942, her assignment was altered from the 8th Fleet to the 1st Southern Expeditionary Fleet. On 1 January 1943, she was classified as an auxiliary fleet tanker (XAO)…"
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