* Length: 143 m / 471 ft
* Beam: 17 m / 58 ft
* Tons: 14,050 t
* Bottom depth: 40 m / 130 ft
* From DayDream: 15 min
* Wreck damage level: very 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 Iro:
The Oil tanker Iro, probably one of the most dived wreck in Palau and a favorite dive site by many. Iro is definitely a world class wreck site and with its astonishing length of 143 meter (471 feet) there is a lot to explore and not possible to accomplish in one dive (unless diving technical but even then we strongly suggest more dives if you fully want to explore and enjoy this wreck).
Iro together with its sister ship Sata does not include the name “Maru” in their ship name as most of other wrecks in Palau. Most of ships sunken in Palau were originally civilian ship designed for transportation or likewise and later equipped with various guns, bombs and other war equipment and therefore given the name “Maru” in its title in connection to the original name. “Maru” in Japanese means “circle” referring to the fact that transportation ships usually moves in a circle like movement, returning to its port. Warships on the other hand, as we all know do not always return again after leaving port… Iro and Sata were originally built for warfare. In the 1920´s building programs ten
Shiretoko- class fleet oilers were ordered by the Japanese Navy, including the Iro and Sata.

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Iro was travelling with a convoy of ships for Palau when they were spotted and surprised by US submarine “USS Tunny” who managed to hit the Iro with a torpedo in the bow, making a big hole through the front of the ship. However Iro was a well-constructed ship and managed to keep water from flooding the ship. Damaged but still afloat she made her way to Palau for repair.
Due to their highly explosive and flammable cargo, both Iro and Sata were anchored on a safe distance from the Malakal Harbor were a lot of other ships were anchored. Iro was still at anchor on March 31 1944 when the Americans attacked Palau during “Operation Desecrate One”. Today she rests at the very same location she was first anchored when arriving to Palau.
One hit on the Iro was reported from the “Bunker Hill dive bombers” However, the ship was still reported to be afloat on the day after the attack and another airstrike was being made. This time Iro took a fatal hit from a 1000 lb bomb, finding its way through a crew compartment into the engine room and with its delayed fuse causing a big explosion, setting a big part of the ship on fire.

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Today, Iro rest in a upright position on a bottom of 40 m/130 ft depth. There is a buoy attached to the very front of the ship were the dive usually begins. When descending down along the buoy-line the first thing that comes in sight is the bow of the ship together with a big gun mounted on top of the forecastle, now completely covered in beautiful corals. Diving depth starts around 18-20m/65ft at the bow and varies from 18m/65ft to 30m+/98ft+ depending on where you go. Continuing past the gun you will reach the main deck with a big open cargo hold in three levels that are mostly empty except for some sake bottles and rope. The forecastle has some doorways to the starboard side and there one can take a look inside and discover a huge bathtub. Between the forecastle and bridge superstructure you will see the kingpost rising like towards the surface, a truly impressive sight and your perfect wide angle wreck photo object!
The superstructure can be entered from starboard side and a swim through a corridor will take you through the superstructure while passing the crew compartments and out on the other side towards the stern of the ship. Here another mast rises from the deck and after passing you will reach the stern of Iro. The engine room is accessible through a hole in the roof and inside you can see a lot of damage caused by the 1000 lb bomb and the following fire. Catwalks and metal lies around everywhere in a tangled mess. Through a doorway on starboard side inside the engine room you can access another corridor with crew compartments and here one will find remains of beds and a smaller bathroom with toilet and bathtub still intact. The stern of Iro also contains a mounted gun.

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Iro is a wreck suitable for all skill levels. One can enjoy just cruising over main deck and around the big structures or for the one experienced in wreck penetration there is a lot of spaces that would be worth exploring. Nitrox will make your bottom time longer, giving you more time to explore but even on an air cylinder you will time to explore some of the most interesting parts of Iro. Technical divers, you are going to have a great time exploring this wreck inside and out and your extended bottom time is going to give you a lot of time to explore everything in a nice and slow pace but as mentioned before, you probably gonna want to do more dives at Iro to cover what you missed at the last dive.

Other wrecks…..

DayDream Palau
Since 1994


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