Previous name: Masula, Oligarch
Subsequent name: California, Athelrill, Koyo Maru, Ogura Maru No 3
Official Number: 139177
Class: Emergency Wartime Construction LEAF Group Freighting Tanker
Pennant No: Y7.158
Items of historic interest involving this ship: -
Background Data: During WW1, 18 vessels of varying types were acquired second hand and converted or purchased and converted while on the stocks or in a few cases building as tankers. Some were converted after serving with the Dummy Battleship Squadron by the insertion of cylindrical tanks in their holds. All were originally intended to operate as RFA’s, however owing to reasons of international law and the operation of the US Neutrality Act, these oilers became Mercantile Fleet Auxiliaries, being renamed with the LEAF nomenclature, and placed under civilian management, although operationally they remained under Admiralty control
1913 ordered as the passenger / cargo liner MASULA for the British India Steam Navigation Co, London (along with her sister MARGHA which became BOXLEAF) as one of a class of nine similar ships
1915 requisitioned by the Admiralty on the stocks and converted into an oiler
28 October 1916 launched by Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd, Whiteinch as Yard Nr 538 named RFA OLIGARCH. Her conversion was found to be unsatisfactory
19 December 1916 completed for the Shipping Controller and placed under management of Lane & MacAndrew Ltd, London as an oiler transport and renamed LIMELEAF. Base port Devonport
19 April 1917 torpedoed and damaged by the German submarine UB 40 (Oberleutnant zur See Hans Howaldt) near the Owers Light Vessel in the English Channel with the loss of seven of her crew. Mostly buried in Milton Cemetery, Portsmouth. 6th Engineer Officer John G Muir RFA is also remembered with pride on a memorial in Kirkoswald Old Churchyard, Ayrshire, Scotland
Graves of those buried in Milton Road Cemetery, Portsmouth
12 March 1918 entered New York with Captain Matthew J Broomfield RFA as Master plus a crew of 71
29 January 1919 sailed Devonport for Halifax arriving on 8 February 1919
6 March 1919 sailed Glasgow to Halifax
24 April 1919 berthed at Gibraltar from Port Arthur via Norfolk
1919 Purchased by N.V. Insulinde Tankstoomboot Maatschappij (Franz Hoynck, Manager) Amsterdam and renamed CALIFORNIA
1921 management transferred to J.A. Stockmans, Amsterdam
1923 management transferred to S.P. Boese, Amsterdam
1925 purchased for £65,640 by United Molasses Co Ltd, Liverpool and renamed ATHELRILL
1926 purchased by Nippon Tanker Kabushika Kaisha, Yokohama and renamed KOYO MARU
13 September 1926 while in dry dock at Yokohama Wharf caught fire and a gas explosion on the ship killed 4 with 17 seriously injured and a further 6 missing. The ship was later repaired
1928 purchased by Ogura Sekiyu Kabushika Kaisha, Tokyo name unchanged.
28 February 1929 in Los Angeles Harbour was in collision with British tramp steamer Fishpool - large amounts of oil gushed from a breach in her hull.
26 May 1929 after being repaired from the damage caused on 29 February 1929 at Los Angeles sailed only to be involved in another collision while still in the same port.
1938 renamed Ogura Maru No 3
24 March 1942 requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy
June 1942 Captain Fukuzawa Tetsushiro, Imperial Japanese Navy in command until January 1943 - formerly in command of the Japanese submarine 1-8
December 1943 Captain Niimi Kazutaka, Imperial Japanese Navy in command. Formerly in command of the Toho Maru
23 February 1944 Sunk by USS Cod (SS224) in the South China Sea in position 03.53 N 129.05 E about 100 miles north of Morotsi Island in the Moluccas.