SS Hitachi Maru (1898)

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Hitachi Maru between 1898 and 1904
NameHitachi Maru
Yard number99
Laid down21 December 1896
Launched16 April 1898
Commissioned16 August 1898
FateScuttled, 15 June 1904
General characteristics
TypePassenger cargo Ship
Length445 ft 0 in (135.64 m)
Beam49 ft 4 in (15.04 m)
Depth30 ft 5 in (9.27 m)
Installed power549
  • triple expansion
  • Two propellers
Speed14.2 knots (16.3 mph; 26.3 km/h)
  • 24 first class
  • 20 second class
  • 116 third class

The Hitachi Maru (常陸丸) was a 6,172 gross ton combined passenger-cargo ship built by

NYK Lines in 1898. She was requisitioned in 1904 by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War


In 1896, following the First Sino-Japanese War, NYK Lines announced an ambitious expansion plan for shipping routes to Europe, which would require up to twelve new vessels. Up until this time, all such vessels had been purchased from overseas sources; however, with the promulgation of the Japanese Shipbuilding Assistance Law in 1896, Mitsubishi was able to secure a contract from NYK for two of these vessels. Previously, the largest vessel constructed by Mitsubishi had been the Suma Maru (1592 tons) for the OSK Lines, so the construction of such a large steel vessel entirely in Japan was unprecedented. Although the company enlisted the support of foreign advisors and used foreign blueprints as a guide, the work took longer than expected, and Mitsubishi eventually was forced to pay compensation to NYK for the cancellation of one of the vessels, and for the delay in delivery of the vessel later named Hitachi Maru.[1]

Hitachi Maru was placed into service with NYK on its European routes for almost six years. In February, 1904, she was requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Army to transport men and war materials from Japan to ports in

Korean Strait between the Japanese mainland and Tsushima in the "Hitachi Maru Incident

There were only 152 survivors, meaning 1,086 people lost their lives.[2]


  1. ^ Wray 1984, pp. 461–464.
  2. ^ Russo-Japanese


  • .
  • Wray, William D (1984). Mitsubishi and the N.Y.K., 1870-1914: Business Strategy in the Japanese Shipping Industry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Centre. .

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