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D/S Ven Koh
Updated Apr. 16-2009

To Ven Koh on the "Ships starting with V" page.

Owner: A/S Thule.
Manager: T. B. Torgersen, Oslo
5752 gt

Built in Vancouver, Canada 1920. Previous name: City of Vancouver until 1936.

Captain: O. Johannessen.

Ven Koh had a Chinese crew and Norwegian officers. (Due to the fact that Norway was occupied, the recruitment of Norwegian seamen gradually went down during the war years, and foreign crews became more common).

Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.

 Seized by Japanese Government: 

According to an extract from the ship's log book, written by 1st Mate Per Nilsen, Ven Koh had arrived Wakamatsu, Japan on Nov. 18-1940, but received no orders about loading.

In the morning of May 9-1941 she commenced taking in bunkers. All the deck crew and engine room crew had been given notice and had been signed off and gone to Shanghai, while new crew came on board, 37 in all. On May 10 the captain went ashore for a conference with the Messrs. Miyachi & Co., Ltd. representative Mr. Konoshi, who stated that the ship would be seized by the Japanese Government that same day. The captain demanded this in writing, but this was declined. He then handed in a written protest to the Wakamatsu police, witnessed by 1st Engineer Jacob Andreas Færstad. At 16:30 that afternoon, 3 Wakamatsu harbour policemen came on board accompanied by 2 Miyachi representatives, 1 of whom, Captain Norito, stated that the Norwegian flag was to be taken down and replaced by a Japanese one, and a few minutes later this was done. At the same time they were informed that the captain and the ship's officers had to leave the ship by 15:00 the following afternoon. A Japanese captain and officers came on board. Captain Johannessen subsequently sent telegrams to the Norwegian Legation in Tokyo, and to Messrs. Aall & Co. Ltd., Kobe informing them of what had occurred. Under threat of arrest should they not comply, the captain and officers were forced to leave the ship the following afternoon, May 11.

An inquiry was held in Kobe on May 14-1941, with the captain, the 1st mate and the 1st engineer in attendance. The captain stated that he had received sailing orders at the end of Nov.-1940 but was refused outward clearance by the customs authorities at Wakamatsu; no reason was given. In a letter dated March 17-1941 he had been informed by Miyachi Kisen Kaisha Ltd., Kobe that he and all the officers were to leave the ship by March 31, with liability for what might otherwise happen. He protested verbally against this. Miyachi's representative arrived Wakamatsu on March 31 in order to take over the vessel, but Captain Johannessen refused to leave the ship and at the same time sent a telegram to the Norwegian Legation in Tokyo, to the Consulate in Kobe and to Aall & Co. Ltd., Kobe, with the Tokyo Legation's reply instructing him to remain on the ship. Miyachi's representative attempted to induce all the officers to leave, but they were held back by reference to their contracts. Nothing further was heard until May 9-1941, when they were again made to understand that the ship would be seized. The captain sent another telegram to the Legation in Tokyo that afternoon, but received no reply. The following morning he received orders to come ashore for the above mentioned conference. The company's D/S Sheng Hwa had a similar experience.

 Final Fate & Some Conflicting Info: 

Roger W. Jordan says Ven Koh was seized by the Japanese in Japan on Dec. 7-1941, renamed Meizan Maru in 1942. Torpedoed and sunk by the American submarine USS Grayling on Aug. 27-1943, 13 13N 121 23E (Robert Cressman gives position 13 35N 120 45E), northeast coast of Mindoro Island, Philippines. "Nortraships flåte" states she was seized in Nov.-1940 (along with D/S Sheng Hwa), and sunk in 1941. Another Norwegian source, "Norges, Sveriges og Danmarks handelsflåter, tilgang og avgang i 1940-1945" says she was seized by the Japanese government in Wakamatsu on May 10-1941, which corresponds with the above log extract.

Related external links:
USS Grayling -SS 209

Hyperwar - linked directly to Robert Cressman's entries for 1943.

Back to Ven Koh on the "Ships starting with V" page.

The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjørklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Vol. II, Norwegian Maritime Museum, "The World's Merchant Fleets", Roger W. Jordan, and misc. as mentioned in text above - (ref. My sources).


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