Shinonome Wreck

 
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Shinonome (東雲 ”Daybreak”) was the sixth of twenty-four Fubuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. These class of warships served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, and remained formidable weapons systems well into the Pacific War.

Shinonome was built at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal and laid down on the 12th of August in 1926. It launched on 26th November, 1927 and commissioned on 25th July, 1928. With original hull designation as “Destroyer No. 40”, she was christened Shinonome. Shinonome was assigned to Destroyer Division 12 under the IJN 2nd Fleet.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Shinonome was assigned to patrols of the southern China coast, and participated in the Invasion of French Indochina in 1940. On December 16th, Shinonome left Camranh Bay for Miri, British Borneo, together with the other two ships of DesDiv 12 (Shirakumo and Murakumo), the light cruiser Yura, the seaplane tender Kamikawa Maru, a few subchasers and two minesweepers. Also present were destroyer Sagiri of DesDiv 20, and a cover force with two heavy cruisers (Kumano and Suzuya), a light cruiser (Kinu) and the destroyer Fubuki. The invasion fleet reached Miri in the night of 15th and 16th December, where the troops went ashore almost unopposed. The 2500 men were able to capture Miri almost instantly.

There was much controversy over what caused the demise of the Shinonome as there are conflicting accounts. It is generally accepted that the Shinonome was either sunk by Dutch military aircraft, on 17 December 1941, or on 18 December 1941, after an attack by Martin B-10 bombers of the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force (2de Vl.G). It had exploded and sank with all hands off the coast of Miri. To this day, the wreck had not been located but based on records it most likely rests in the South China Sea somewhere between Seria (Brunei) and Lutong.

Wreck researchers, based in Miri and with help from the Netherlands, has been searching for the wreck of Shinonome since 2004 off the coast of Miri.

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