SS Kembu Maru (1942)

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Career (Japanese Empire) Japanese Navy Ensign
Name: Empire Blossom (1942-43)
Kembu Maru (1943)
Owner: Japanese Government (1942-43)
Operator: Imperial Japanese Navy
Builder: Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Company, Hong Kong
Yard number: 303
Laid down: May 1941
Launched: 1942
Completed: February 1943
Out of service: 4 December 1943
Fate: Bombed and sunk, 4 December 1943
General characteristics
Tonnage: 6,816 GRT
9,925 DWT
Length: 137.20 metres (450 ft 2 in)
Beam: 17.30 metres (56 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 1 x triple expansion steam engine
Armament: 1 x 5" gun

Kembu Maru was a 6,816 GRT cargo ship which was built in 1941 Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Company of Hong Kong Ltd. She was built as Empire Blossom and was ready to be launched when Hong Kong was invaded by Japan in December 1941. The ship was completed by the Japanese and put into service. On 4 December 1943 she was sunk by American bombing at Kwajalein Atoll.


Empire Blossom was built as a 6,603 GRT cargo ship by Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Company of Hong Kong Ltd. She was laid down in May 1941,[1] as yard number 303.[2] The ship was completed in February 1943. She was 137.20 metres (450 ft 2 in) long, with a beam of 17.30 metres (56 ft 9 in). On completion she was 6,816 GRT, 9,925 DWT. She was powered by a triple expansion steam engine.[2]


The engine and boilers intended for Empire Blossom were sent to Singapore on 1 December 1941 aboard the SS Ulysees of Holt Line.[1] The ship was launched as Empire Blossom. It was completed in February 1943 and put into service by the Imperial Japanese Navy as Kembu Maru.[2][3]

On 4 August 1943, Kembu Maru was damaged by USS Seadragon at 07°33′N 161°12′E / 7.55°N 161.2°E / 7.55; 161.2.[4] On 4 December 1943, Kembu Maru was bombed and torpedoed by aircraft from USS Lexington. She was carrying a cargo of aviation fuel in drums. The bombing caused the ship to explode and sink immediately, with a column of smoke 10,000 feet (3,000 m) being seen.[3] At the time of he sinking she was in the Kwajalein Atoll (09°19′N 167°25′E / 9.317°N 167.417°E / 9.317; 167.417).[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mitchell, W H, and Sawyer, L A (1995). The Empire Ships. London, New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong: Lloyd's of London Press Ltd. ISBN 1-85044-275-4. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 ""5617419"" (subscription required). Miramar Ship Index. R.B. Haworth. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Kembu Maru". Pacific Wrecks. Retrieved 27 November 2009. 
  4. "4 August, Wed.". Ibiblio. Retrieved 27 November 2009.