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One of the most popular wrecks in Coron Bay is the 93 meter long Morazán Maru or Olympia Maru.
|Name Dive Site:
|Morazán Maru, Olympia Maru
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The Morazán Maru, formerly known as the Olympia Maru, was a freighter and passenger liner built in England, 1908, sold to Central America, where she served the route between Honduras and New Orleans. Captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy in Shanghai 1941 and used as an Auxiliary Cargo Vessel.
The origin of this vessel was for long time unknown and many funny or completely wrong statements were made about this mysterious ship. Just recently, in 2006, Marc Julius, a German dive master and wreck-maniac, was that ambitious to check out the secret behind this ship. During the dive master course of his wife Eva, the wreck became first time precisely mapped by Marc and Eva and they found out, that e.g. the totally length of the ship is 93m (300.3 feet), instead of fantasy lengths of 120m and more you can find this sort of nonsense written in many specifications in the internet, magazines or other publications.
The Morazán Maru is one of the most popular wrecks of Coron, because of her beauty, rich fish life and relatively easy level. She is lying on her starboard side in 25m of water. Four big cargo holds makes it easy to penetrate the wreck. The empty engine-room, (the single steam-engine got salvaged in the 60s) with two impressive boilers left is one of the highlights. Beautiful mysterious atmosphere is there because of the day light coming in from the salvage-hole in the hull, which is rich covered with hard and soft corals.
Big groupers, puffers, schools of baby barracudas, crocodile fishes (flathead), plenty of scorpion fishes (so watch out where you put your hands), occasionally black and white bended sea snakes and turtles. There is a usually calm, sometimes mild current and the visibility is 3-15m depending on conditions.
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The definitive name of this wreck remains a mystery to this day but her configuration makes her most likely the IJN Taiei Maru or IJN Morazan Maru. It is also thought that the IJN Morazan Maru had been bombed and almost definitely sunk by US Task Force 38 in Manila harbor on 22 September 1944 making this wreck most likely the Taiei Maru.
To add to the confusion both IJN Okikawa Maru and IJN Olympia Maru had been misidentified as the Taiei Maru - in fact some dive operators continue to identify both wrecks as such!
Some of this confusion can be explained in that a quite modern civilian tanker of 9,929 tonnes named Taiei Maru and very similar to the Okikawa Maru did exist. However she had been torpedoed already on 21 August 1944 by the submarine USS Haddo and was thought to have sunk soon after.
All that is certain is that no less than six vessels, freighters and tankers served the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces under the name Taiei Maru and American sources do insist that two vessels with this name were sunk on 24 September 1944. It is obvious that even the Japanese were confused over the multiple same-naming of their ships!
It can be clearly seen that the vessel suffered from a series of direct hits in the bridge superstructure as well as into the hull. Most likely she received some below-waterline hits on her starboard side causing a tremendous explosion of the engine-room which finally led to her sinking.
The Morazan Maru is a Japanese freighter lying on her starboard side. This is a beautiful wreck dive where you can observe groupers, sweetlips, occasionally turtles and sea snakes. Hard corals cover the port side, which is only 12 to 16m below the surface. There are two resident trumpet fish that hang out half a meter over the port side corals. Many scorpion fish also live around the wreck area.
The big cargo rooms and the engine room allow easy penetration of this wreck for Wreck Certified divers. If you dive from 10am to 2pm on a sunny day you get a cathedral like effect from the beams of sunlight entering the cargo holds through the holes in the port side. The two massive boilers in the center of the ship are a big attraction. You can pass behind the boilers and see the damage resulting from one of the bomb strikes that disabled the ship. It is possible to pass from bow to stern without exiting the ship.
The Morazan was an English passenger cargo vessel that was captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy and used for here war efforts. She sits on here starboard side in 25 meters of seawater. The Morazan's four massive cargo holds are empty, but the real treat is the pair of massive boilers in the engine room. This wreck dive is good for divers of all abilities. The big holds and the engine room are good for beginners. For more a more advanced route, it is possible to do a complete swim-through and pass from bow to stern without exiting the ship!
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