Shirogane Maru – additional information

HF: Stephen Kentwell added the following comment on 18th September 2018, to our original article, Shirogane Maru (Bosco Radio Corp) – mystery over its fate, linked below. I thought this was sufficiently interesting to be posted in a new article, especially as Stephen was kind enough to later email me a couple of images of the ship concerned.

Stephen Kentwell: For the record, my past research coincides with the explanations by the esteemed Stephen Davies [given in the original article].

There were several ships going by the name SHIROGANE MARU 白金丸.. Variant spellings of the name are possible, and in 1938 the Japanese governmment changed the official spelling to SIROGANE MARU. (Interestingly, the district in Tokyo where I used to live was officially changed a few years ago from ‘Shirogane-dai’ to ‘Shirokane-dai’.)

Details of the career of the Hong Kong/Canton river ferry SHIROGANE MARU, which was designed with no sheer and minimal camber and a squat funnel by the Japanese marine architect Professor Haruki Watsuji are given in the publication “Nihon no Kyakusen” by Hisashi Noma and Michio Yamada:

SHIROGANE MARU 929 gross tons / built 1938
Built by Mitsubishi Zosen, Kobe for Setsuyo Shosen K.K., Osaka as SHIROGANE MARU for Osaka/Sumoto route. 1938 name re-spelt SIROGANE MARU. 11/39 t/f to Osaka Shosen K.K. for charter to Kanton Naiga Unei Kumiai 広東内河運営組合 (Kwantung Inland Waterways Operations Cooperative). for operation in Pearl River Delta. 28/8/45 sunk by mine in Pearl River.

The BAAG sketch indeed shows no sheer and a relatively short funnel, and some of the suprstructure has been cut away, and masts fitted. To my mind there is little doubt that the observer was looking at the small 1938 SHIROGANE MARU.

Stephen has kindly sent a couple of photos of the ship.

The photo below of SHIROGANE MARU was taken by the Mitsubishi Shipyard during trials in 1938 and was issued as PR material.

Shirogane Maru Photo Taken By Mitsubishi Shipyard During Trials In 1938 Issued As PR Material Stephen Kentwell

This photo of the ship at Central in 1940 was taken by the New York Times reporter Harrison Forman.

Shirogane Maru, Central Sept 1940 Courtesy Stephen Kentwell

Courtesy: University of Wisconsin Libraries

Stephen and Howard Dick have recently set up a website which you may like to look at:
OldChinaCoastShips – From the coming of the age of steamships the China Coast saw an active building up of shipping fleets, both by major foreign-flag companies which were able to dominate services to the “Treaty Ports” and by Chinese shipping interests.  The Chinese companies were disadvantaged in political and economic terms but could draw together local capital and an outstanding ability to maintain ships and override various obstacles.  This site presents the major shipping fleets of both categories, which then faced the severe difficulties of the 1930s and 1940s.

This article was first posted on xxxx xxxx 2018.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Shirogane Maru (Bosco Radio Corp) – mystery over its fate


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