Friday, 12 May 2017 11:19

May 12 - Kaiwo Maru

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There was only one contender for Ship of the Week this week – the magnificent Japanese four-masted tall ship Kaiwo Maru which, after a short visit to Burrard Inlet, spent last weekend at Garry Point Park in Steveston. Kaiwo Maru was built to replace a 1930’s built sailing training ship of the same name which translates directly to “King of the Sea”. The vessel made her voyage across the Pacific to participate in Richmond’s Ships to Shore King of the Sea Festival and to mark Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.


Built by Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Uraga Shipyard, Yokohama
Laid down in July 1988 and completed in September 1989
Operated by the Japan National institute for Sea Training
LOA 110.1m
Beam 13.8m
Height of main mast 43.5m
GRT 2,556 tons
Propulsion 2 x diesel engines, total HP 3,000, giving 13 knots
Complement 199 

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In 2004, Kaiwo Maru was heavily damaged while sheltering from a typhoon outside the port of Fushiki in the Bay of
Toyama, Japan. She dragged anchor and grounded on a breakwater, sustaining severe damage.  Her crew of young cadets were evacuated by bravely climbing along ropes stretched between the vessel and the breakwater. Many were injured but miraculously none were lost. The vessel itself was salvaged and returned to her builders for extensive repairs.


Kaiwo Maru
regularly participates in international tall ship festivals and In 2010, visited San Francisco to commemorate the 1860 voyage of the Kanrin Maru, the first Japanese ship to officially visit the United States. Onboard was a significant passenger, a retired businessman descended from one of the original Kanrin Maru crew members. Then in March 2011, Kaiwo Maru was on a voyage from Japan to Honolulu when the famous tsunami of that year hit the coast of Fukushima, Japan, sparking a nuclear emergency. She was diverted to Fukushima where she served as accommodation for workers tackling the crisis. 

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Not to be completely out-done, the North Shore last weekend hosted the 1968 built A.R.C. Gloria, the flagship of the Colombian Navy at Burrard Dock just east of Lonsdale Quay. She is one of four similar barques built as sail training vessels for Latin American navies. Her half-sisters are the Mexican sail training vessel Cuauhtémoc, Venezuela’s Simón Bolívar and the Ecuador’s Guayas. While much smaller that Kaiwo Maru, A.R.C. Gloria nevertheless proved to be a big attraction on a rare sunny weekend.


Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.

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