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D/S Ngow Hock
To Ngow Hock on the "Ships starting with N" page.
According to Page 1 above, Ngow Hock was trading "between Bangkok and Straits" when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She had left Hong Kong for Bangkok on March 26; arrival is not given, but she later arrived Penang on Apr. 13, proceeding to Singapore and Bangkok again on the 17th. Her 1941 voyages start on Page 2 and continue on Page 3.
Ngow Hock departed Bangkok on Dec. 2-1941 for Hong Kong via Koh Schiang with a cargo of rice, teak and some other general cargo. It appears she had a crew of 49, 5 (6?) of whom were Norwegian, namely Captain Ivar Andresen, 1st Mate Einar Agerup, 2nd Mate Ola K. Snekkestad, 1st Engineer Helge Hansen and 2nd Engineer Henry K. Kristiansen. I believe all the rest were Chinese. She arrived Koh Schiang that same day to take on board some more rice, finishing that afternoon. Telegrams were received from the Norwegian Consulate and the ship's agents in Bangkok, Ngow Hock & Co. Ltd., instructing them to delay departure until further orders. The following day orders were received to continue to Hong Kong as planned, and she departed shortly after noon, Dec. 3.
On Dec. 7, in approximately 11 15N 10 30E, she encountered a fleet of about 10 Japanese war ships ordering her to stop immediately, whereupon she was boarded. On threat of being sunk if she didn't comply, she was subsequently ordered to Kam Ranh Bay (Camranh Bay? Fan Rang Bay?) where further orders would be given. Before the Japanese boarding party left the ship, they examined it, took some papers and helped themselves to 2 radioes belonging to the 1st engineer and the captain. Ngow Hock then headed for the above destination, closely watched by Japanese aircraft all the way, and arrived around midnight.
The following morning, Dec. 8, two Japanese officers came on board and examined the ship's papers, then that evening one of the officers returned, this time with a watch crew, and the ship was moved to the inner harbour. They were now informed that Japan was at war with the U.S. and England as of the night before, and that the Japanese Navy had orders to stop all Norwegian, Greek, Dutch and Panamanian ships. They were also told that the rice would be discharged. A few days later the ship's papers were examined yet again, and on the 27th a naval officer and a Japanese crew came on board for good. Ngow Hock was to head for Japan.
On Jan. 1-1942 she was ordered alongside a Japanese cargo vessel to unload her rice cargo. The captain's protests were of no use, nor were protests of any use the next day when the Norwegian flag was removed and replaced by a Japanese one. When they were ordered to move the ship the following day, the Norwegians refused, saying that their services had come to and end from the time the Japanese flag had been hoisted. Having been given the choice between following orders or being locked up, they chose the latter, and they were locked up in the messroom, moved later that day to one of the cabins. The Norwegian officers eventually decided it was best to do as they were told, because the threats became increasingly serious.
On Jan. 9 the ship was ordered to Kam Ranh Bay where they arrived that afternoon, joined 2 days later by the captured Norwegian Helios and the Panamanian Capella and together they continued north on Jan. 12, via Vinh Thu Bay to Yu Lin Kan Bay (Haina Island) on the 15th until they on Jan 22-1942 arrived Hong Kong, where 17 men, including 1 passenger, were taken off the ship on the 24th. They left again the following day, arrived Tomie Harbour, Japan on the 31st, departed Febr. 1 with arrival Hukae Bay same day, departure Febr. 2 to Ainoura (Aino Ura?), arriving the latter that same day (this route is slightly different from what can be found under Helios).
A representative from the Yamashita company (Kobe) came on board around Febr. 20 and informed them that this company would take over the ship in about 2 weeks. On the 28th they were insured freedom as long as they would sign a document promising to not serve any enemy of Japan. The ship was again examined on March 1, before they were told to disembark into D/S Argus of Manila, while the Chinese crew members were transferred to Capella. On March 4 the Norwegian officers were placed on the Norwegian D/S Halldor for a while (which was also in Japanese hands), then on the 8th they were moved over to Helios (including the Chinese crew) which departed for Shanghai on March 11 with arrival on the 17th, at which time they were freed and taken care of by the Norwegian consulate.
The maritime hearings were held in Shanghai on Apr. 1-1942 with Captain Andresen, 1st Mate Einar Agerup and 2nd Mate Olaf Snekkestad appearing.
On Aug. 17-1942, 3 of Helios' officers and 2 from Ngow Hock travelled on diplomatic passports on board Tatuta Maru for the U.K., via Lourenço Marques (Maputo today), Portugese East Africa (Mozambique today) and Cape Town, arriving Liverpool Oct. 9. (It might be more likely they travelled on Tatuta Maru only as far as Lourenço Marques, then on to the U.K. with either S/S El Nil, which departed Lourenço Marques on Sept. 5-1942, or S/S Narkunda - this ship sailed from Lourenço Marques on Sept. 13, from Cape Town on Sept. 18 and arrived Liverpool Oct. 9).
2 officers from Helios and 3 from Ngow Hock (see Merchant Marine Prisoners of War) were left behind in Shanghai until Nov.-1945, when they got passage on various troopships, some to the U.K., others to California, and later came home to Norway with other ships in the spring of 1946.
Ngow Hock was renamed Hokuzan Maru in 1942. Attacked on Oct. 26-1943 by USAAF aircraft and sunk 20 05N 110 25E (Kiungshan, China). Charles Hocking says she was sunk at "Hoihow, Formosa".
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The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume I, "Krigsseiler - krig, hjemkomt, oppgjør" by Guri Hjeltnes and misc - ref. my Sources/Books.