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stepping stones of maritime history


The, originally German, Rendsburg was confiscated by the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 in the Dutch East Indies upon the German invasion.

Of the 19 German ships in the DEI, 18 were captured after a PTT telegraph operator intercepted a coded telegram, dated 9 May '40, directed at the German ships captains. The S.S. Sophie Rickmers was sunk by her crew.

The Rendsburg was renamed Toendjoek. Scuttled on the 2nd of March 1942 as a blockship in the harbour of Tandjung Priok. She was salvaged the 12th of August by the Japanese navy. The cargo vessel was repaired and renamed Tango Maru.

She was in use as a hell ship for transporting forced labourers and POW.

On the 24th of August 1944, she departed from Surabaya to Ambon together with the troop ship Ryusei Maru in convoy protected by two minesweepers. On board were Javanese forced labourers and allied POW.

On the 25th of February, Tango Maru was 30 miles north of Bali while attacked by the US Rasher a submarine. The US Rasher torpedoed the Tango Maru and on the same day sank the Ryusei Maru. Resulting in more than 3.500 allied casualties on the Tango Maru and 4.998 Japanese soldiers on the Ryusei Maru. Only 500 Japanese survived the attack.

Hell ship
Thousands of Allied POW's and Javanese natives were transported by sea in so called 'Hell ships'. Sometimes it was moving them from one island to another island for work related purposes, on other occasions, POW's were on their way from Japanese occupied territory to the Japanese homeland.


Built: Vulcan & Stettin, Hamburg 1925
Owner: Deutsche Australische Dampfschiffs Gesellschaft and Hamburg-Amerika Linie (1925-1940)
Nederlandsch Indische Maats. Voor Zeevaart n.v. (1940-1942)
Imperial Steamship Co Japanese Government (1942-1944)

+ 3500 casualties

Length450.1 feet (137.2 m)
Width58.1 feet (17.7 m)
Draft24.6 feet (7.5 m)
Tonnage6200 ton


Down on 20 May

New in MaSS

Wrecks of Flevoland

Burgzand Noord

13 Provinces