Saturday, 10 June 2017

Dutch oil tanker Ondina 1939-1959


Hokoku Maru

Launched at the Nederlandse Dok&Scheepsbouwmaatschappij, Amsterdam, Netherlands on 29 April 1939, completed on 1 August 1939, operated for La Corona, a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch Shell Company and finally broken up at Hong Kong in 1959. In the Second World War, fought together with her escort HMIS Bengal on 11 November 1942 a heroic battle against the Japanese auxiliary cruisers Hokoku Maru and Aikoku Maru. Against all odds both ships survived the battle in which the Hokoku Maru even was destroyed probably a s102,cm shell of the Ondina. The Aikoku Maru torpedoed the Ondina and left the scene believing she was sinking. The crew of the Ondina which already had left their ship going of board of the lifeboats returned and managed to keep her floating returning safely to Fremantle, Australia. Five men of her crew were killed including her master. In 1945 was she the first Dutch tanker after the war entering the harbour of Rotterdam, Netherlands. De Dutch queen Juliana commemorated what she did by a so-called Royal Citation in a Day Order. Only Dutch warships or Netherlands-flagged merchant ships which performed extra ordinary well during the war could get such honour. Until she was broken up she continued her voyages in the Far East but also towards South America. Between 1950-1958 students of the Rijks HBS at Vlissingen, Netherlands exchanged letters and presents with her crew. In the preserved letters of crewmembers it is possible to get a good glimpse of life on board. In those years she had mixed crew of Dutch officers and Chinese sailors.

With a gross tonnage of 9.070 tons were her dimensions 130,49 x 16,62 x 6,40 metres or 428.1 x 54.5 x 21 feet. The single Werkspoor six-cylinder 2.800hp diesel allowed a maximum speed of just 12 knots. During the war consisted her armament of 1-10,2cm/4” quick firing gun and machineguns.

The Hokoku Maru had a speed of 21,1 knots and an armament of 8-15cm guns, 2-7,62cm guns and 4-53,3cm torpedo tubes. Her sister ship Aikoku Maru had a speed of 20,9 knots and an armament of 8-14cm guns, 4-2,5cm anti aircraft guns and 4-53,3cm torpedo tubes.