Saturday, September 24, 2011

SMS Cormoran II and Tokai Maru Shipwrecks, Guam

A large ship's anchor in the bridge house of the SMS Cormoran. Probably dropped on the Cormoran by a visiting ship over the past 95 years. Looks as if it was irretrievable and the anchor chain was cut off.

On the bridge house of the Tokai Maru.

Apra Harbor, Guam on west side of the island. Dive site is off the main shipping dock on top left of photo. GPS position: 13 27.342 N. 144 39.233 E. The dive site pickup buoy is on the starboard side of the red buoy No.2.
Photo courtesy of the US Navy.

Wreck site: the Tokai Maru is at the top and SMS Cormoran on the bottom of the sketch. This is the only wreck site in the world where a war ship from World War I ( SMS Cormoran, armed raider) and World War II ( Tokai Maru, armed freighter) touch each other. The keel of the Tokai Maru rests on the rudder of the Cormoran at 110 feet of depth.
Sketch courtesy of US National Parks Service Submerged Cultural Resources Unit.

The SMS ( Seine Majestats Schiff ) Cormoran was used as a German maritime commerce raider in the Pacific and anchored in the harbor December 14, 1914 to take on coal. She was detained in the harbor for over two years with the crew living among the local Chamorros and Americans. When war was declared on Germany by the US on April 7, 1917 the Cormoran was scuttled and sunk by the Captain Adalbert Zuckschwerdt and crew. The crew and captain were held prisoners in various US forts until release after the war in 1919.

Photo courtesy of Marineschule - Flensburg Murwik.

Tokai Maru was a fast luxury freighter in the 1930's and re-commissioned as an armed freighter to the Japanese Imperial Navy in 1941. She was torpedoed by the USS submarine Flying Fish on January 24, 1943 while at anchor in Apra Harbor, but did not sink. On August 27,1943 she was finally sunk while at anchor in the harbor by the USS submarine Snapper.

Water color print of the SMS Cormoran off New Guinea coast while on a raiding cruise in 1914. Note only one smoke stack and how she is rigged for sailing and steam propulsion in her early days.
Print Courtesy of Lawson Menzies Live Auctioneers, Australia.

Megan on the main deck of the Tokai Maru. The visibility on the outside of the wrecks that day was very murky and not the best for wide angle photography. Hopefully on future dives it will improve as the wide angle views are impressive. These photos were taken just inside of the ships where the visibility was much better.

CARIS image of both wrecks in Apra harbor. Photo courtesy of Alexander Unrein of Ocean Surveys.

Megan diving on the main deck of the Cormoran.

Anchor on the port side of the Cormoran. Not sure if this anchor is from the Cormoran.


barb said...

awesome! i hope you'll post more pics of your dives...for those of us who (currently) explore the world vicariously.

Savaaha said...

Oh man, look at that wreck and how great the vis is. JEALOUS!! Sadly a little too deep for my plain old OW cert. I need to get Advanced next summer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your photos of this dive site. I dove on these ships in 1989 and didn't have such good visibility for photos, but did get a few good closeups. The Ki Tsu Gawa is another very good dive but at 41 metres there wasn't a lot of time to spend down there before having to do our 10 mins decompress and surface.