Bichu maru

* Length: 113 m / 367 ft
* Beam: 15 m / 52 ft
* Tons: 4,667 t
* Bottom depth: 40 m / 130 ft
* From DayDream: 15 min
* Wreck damage level: small

Expected total dive time:
* Recreational air diver: 25 to 30 min
* Recreational nitrox diver: 30 to 40 min
* Tec diver: ~ 60 min
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More about Bichu maru:
Bichu Maru was a Japanese Naval transporter Type 1B and was built in 1943 together with 16 other class 1B ships that year. As many other standard ships built after the war started, her design was simple since Japan had a need to build a large number of ships and they needed to be fast built to supply Japan´s strongholds in the Pacific.
On December 29 Bichu Maru was attacked and torpedoed by the American submarine “USS Silversides”, just outside New Guinea. Temporary repairs were made on Bichu and on the 10th of March she arrived to Palau together with the repair ship Akashi, to make her repairs more solid. On March 28, just two days before the start of “Operation Desecrate One” the repairs were completed and she was moved away to make space for other ships in need for repair. She was anchored in a small bay, not far from the tankers “Iro” and “Sata”. Bichu was anchored closed to the Island to make potential attacks from above more difficult.

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A total number of four US bomb planes were attacking Bichu when the strikes started, scoring nothing but misses. The shelter from the jungle-like rock islands seemed to really make it hard for the US planes. However, a second attack was being made and this time a hole was being blown up in one of the cargo hold below the surface. Since her cargo holds were empty, a big amount of water quickly filled up the holds, making her loose her buoyance more and more, finally sinking to rest on the seabed.

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Today Bichu Maru lies on her port –side in a bottom depth of 25-28 meters. She was for a long time identified as actually being the “Gozan Maru” but is today known as being the Bichu. Although her cargo holds are empty, exploring them inside is rewarding due to their large size and the great photo opportunities from penetrating light. Also the hole being blown up inside one of the holds can be seen swimming through the holds. The ship engine room can be entered through a hole in the roof or through a doorway on her starboard side. Inside the engine room is a big mess of catwalks and metal twisted around, making it hard to navigate inside. Entering the engine room is not recommended unless you have good experience for wreck penetration.
Moving past the engine room to the back of the mid-ship superstructure a kitchen can be seen through an open hole. Continuing towards the stern, two more cargo holds can be seen and explored, and then finally reaching the stern gun on top of the stern structure. Passing around the stern and swimming towards the bottom the huge propeller will come into vision, making a great opportunity for some nice photos!

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Bichu Maru is a great wreck dive for both recreational and technical divers. As most of wrecks in Palau, average depth is around 20 meters or more so use of Nitrox is a good option to get more exploring time! The starboard side and bottom of Bichu Maru is today covered in a lot of corals facing the surface, giving them a lot of sun and light, also making them great for photos!

Other wrecks…..

DayDream Palau
Since 1994


phone: (680)488-3551
Location: behind Koror state ranger office, Malakal Island