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The Japanese Patrol Boat is a small coastal trawler probably used by the Japanese and sank in front of Subic Bay in the end of WWII.
|Name Dive Site:||Japanese Patrol Boat|
|Depth: ||18-25m (59-82ft)|
|Inserted/Added by: ||visit_subic_bay|
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This ship has not been fully identified as to name or even type. This wreck is generally called the Japanese Patrol Boat. The overall design of the boat is that of a fishing vessel. While it is clear that it was being used in a military mission, it is not clear if it was a fishing vessel converted for use or a military vessel designed using fishing craft designs. It seems most likely that it was originally a small coastal trawler. Starting as early as 1918, the Japanese government started to standardize boat building with an eye for conversion from civilian to military usage. Deep sea trawlers, coastal trawlers, whalers and even fishing boats all incorporated features that would allow easy conversion.
The wreck appears to be a small coastal trawler. It has an overall length of about 32 meters (105 feet), an estimated waterline length to be around 30 meter (100 feet) and a beam of 6 meter (18 feet). Her estimated gross tonnage would be around 150 to about 200 tons. She has extensive damage forward having been struck with an aerial explosive of some sort, followed by a fire. One source has her listed as sinking in March 1942. However there were very limited air operations in that month and she does not fit the description of any vessel attacked since air operations against Japanese forces at Subic did not restart until late 1944; we can assume that the boat sank in 1944 or 1945. Small trawlers were often converted to use as auxiliary sub-chasers (XPC) or as auxiliary mine sweepers (XAM). The XPC's were used for harbor and coastal sub-hunting. They were also used as escorts for coastal convoys but were better suited for patrol duties around bases. Typically, they would have been armed with a 57mm or 3 inch gun on the forecastle, four light machine guns and depth charges in fan tail racks. To complete it mission two-way radio, radio direction finding, and hydrophone equipment would complete its conversion. Vessels converted, as an XAM, would also have minesweeping equipment. It is interesting to note that even, while performing patrol or mine sweeping duties, the vessels often carried out secondary task. They would often be used as cargo ships carrying supplies on its deck and hold. Divers who had dived on the "patrol boat” years ago tell of finding munitions in the forward hold. Whether this was cargo or its own magazines can only be a guess at this point. The amount being carried is unknown and the hold has a thick layer of silt now. It possible that there are still clues hidden inside the hold but any attempt to sift through the silt reduces visibility to zero.
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