The IJN Futagami was a Hashima Fleet Class salvage tug built for the Imperial Japanese Navy and launched 1939. She was built by Harima Sanbashi Company of Aioi. The vessel was equipped with two 2-ton and one 5-ton salvage derricks. She was fitted with de-watering salvage pumps and many hoses still stored in aft hold.
The tug’s official designation was “Kyunan-sen ken Eisen”. She was instrumental in performing many salvage and towage tasks in and around Chuuk, Some of the more noteworthy was towing in the damaged Sutsuki running astern from the Coral Sea engagement, towing in the torpedoed and burning Hoyo Maru from outside North Pass, and tending to derricks attempting salvage of sunken ‘I-169’ sub. She was frequently at work with barges, towing damaged ships, and tending to many normal duties within the lagoon. Twin sets of anti-aircraft machine guns were mounted in aft corner tubs of her bridge house. She was a unique and powerful vessel of her day with twin six cylinder Unaflow enclosed reciprocating steam engines of 3,000hp, with steam supplied from two coal or oil fired water tube boilers. A large internal towing winch and hydraulic tow hook completed much of her tow gear. Large 6”diam manila hawsers are stowed forward in way of foc’sle crew bunks. .
The Futagami was undamaged during hostilities, surviving the war, to be left anchored but unattended in channel west of Dublon. Little information is known of her eventual sinking, whether by vandals or inattentions. It could have been easily salvaged but as with many other ships here, few if any came back to the surface. The wreck starts in shallow 30ft water at the stern and descends to 100 fsw at the bow, and is lying at about a 45 deg list to port. Many interesting artifacts are found aboard including an undamaged engine room with great photo opportunities of gauges, valves, and controls.
Visibility in the channel is often limited to about 20-30 ft and then good at other times.
- IJN FUTAGAMI HASHIMA CLASS FLEET SALVAGE TUG
- Displacement: 625 tons
- Length: 131 feet
- Beam 32 feet
- Engine: 2 coal/heavy oil fired reciprocating engines, 2 shafts
- Max Speed: 14.5 kts.
- Mission: Salvage. Armament
- 2-25 MM anti-aircraft guns; depth charges. Crew: 59. Launched: 1939.