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NYK Line

History

Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) was formed in 1885 by a merger between Mitsubishi’s shipping activities and Kyodo Unyu Kaisha, to operate routes to China and to provide local shipping services. The latter became increasingly unattractive, because of growing competition from the railways and the other major Japanese shipping company, OSK. In 1893 a service was opened to Bombay to import raw cotton. The Japanese Government decided to provide all the subsidies NYK needed to establish an international shipping network. This encouraged NYK to establish lines to Australia, Europe, and to the United States by the end of the 1890s. In the early twentieth century, subsidised services were opened to the Dutch East Indies, South Africa and South America.

Although NYK did very well financially during WW1, the unsubsidised and unregulated Japanese companies fared significantly better. After WW1, NYK opened a new subsidised cargo liner service through the Panama Canal and on to UK and Europe. In 1926 it purchased the Pacific operations of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, which ran passenger services to San Francisco, and proceeded to build a series of world-class passenger ships for this route. Nevertheless by the outbreak of WW2, the government funded and controlled NYK was being seriously challenged by the independent OSK for pre-eminence among Japanese shipping firms. World War 2 saw the destruction of much of the Japanese merchant fleet and confiscation of most of the remainder during 1945-46. Nevertheless, the war and subsequent occupation had a levelling effect on all Japanese shipping firms, which allowed NYK to recapture the strategic initiative that had been passing to OSK and others, like Mitsui Bussan's shipping division, before the war.

Towards the end of the occupation, the United States re-introduced subsidization through its aid programs and when the Korean War boosted shipping recovery, the occupation authorities helped Japanese firms re-enter overseas lines and conferences. The event that triggered a transformation in NYK strategy was the "Mitsui Fight." This was an unsuccessful three-year attempt in the mid-1950s by NYK and OSK, in cooperation with European firms, to keep Mitsui Senpaku KK out of the Far Eastern Freight Conference. All firms suffered in this struggle, but Mitsui survived because of its tanker business, which had supported it during the competition. This realization led NYK to undertake its own strategy of diversification, a move accompanied by a restructuring of its business division into three major services – cargo liners, bulk carriers, and tankers.

The 1950s were a difficult time for all Japanese shipping companies and NYK incurred trading losses from 1956 to 1965. The government encouraged consolidation in the industry, linking a policy of merger with a commitment to increased subsidization. Under this process, NYK merged with Mitsubishi Kaiun KK, a division within Mitsubishi Corporation, while rivals OSK and Mitsui Senpaku joined to form Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. The government also promoted containerization by aiding firms that formed container groupings. NYK had worked with the Matson Navigation Company of San Francisco to introduce containers on its Pacific services and with Mitsui O.S.K., joined the Trio Group container consortium with British and German shipowners.

NYK also pursued diversification by building tankers, ore carriers and developing a fleet of car carriers. These advances, however, were partially offset in the early 1970s by a revaluation of the Japanese yen and a major strike, both of which increased the cost of Japanese shipping. In addition, the oil crisis generated both a short-term boom and long-term risk. In 1975 NYK had the wisdom to reduce its exposure to the tanker business, even though this sector was still very profitable. The wisdom of this decision was borne out in the 1980s, when several Japanese firms that had continued to pursue the oil tanker market went bankrupt. Meanwhile, NYK continued to diversify, ordering liquefied natural gas tankers and a larger fleet of car carriers to service the growing exports of cars to North America. With its still profitable base in container shipping, these moves gave NYK a balanced business profile that enabled it to remain the largest and generally most profitable Japanese shipping firm into the early 1990s.

In 1998, NYK merged with Showa Line Ltd., leaving Japan with four major shipping companies—NYK, Mitsui OSK Lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, and Navix. As a result of the merger, NYK operated 535 ships. By 2005 the directly owned fleet was over 700 ships with many more on charter.

Ships

Boston Maru

Boston Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Mitsubishi Kaiun KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Hiroshima
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 157
Official Number 89878
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 9,214
Deadweight (DWT) 12752
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 140 Metres
Overall Length 156.5 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.6 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 18.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
April 1962 Launched
June 1962 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of owner to Nippon Yusen KK 1964. Taken to Kaohsiung 15 April 1982 for breaking by Yun Shen Steel & Iron Works Co

Delagoa Maru

Delagoa Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 328
Official Number 26025
Call Sign JDID
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,148
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 4,373
Length 420 Ft.
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 56 Ft.
Depth 38.5 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Cylinders of bore 28", 47 1/8", 79" and stroke 51"
Engine Builder Mitsubishi
Engine Builder Works Nagasaki
Engine Builder Country Japan
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 12

Additional Construction Information

  • Keel laid down 19 March 1919
  • 1 deck and shelter deck

Career Highlights

Date Event
10 September 1919 Launched
1 October 1919 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Act of War)
Service History Information The vessel was sunk by torpedo fired by American submarine USS Trigger on 2 November 1943 at position 28°20' N, 135°20' E. She was en route from Saiki to Palau Island.

Heian Maru

Heian Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Nishi Nippon
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 1415
Official Number 67024
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 6,848
Deadweight (DWT) 9324
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 132.3 Metres
Overall Length 141 Metres
Breadth or Beam 18.1 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 13.5

Additional Construction Information

  • Keel laid down 29 December 1949

Career Highlights

Date Event
29 August 1950 Launched
7 January 1951 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Paulcrown and owner to Paulcrown Cia Naviera SA 1970, change of name to Eleftheria Niki and owner to Eleftheria Niki Cia Naviera SA 1976. Taken to Cartagena de Indias 14 November 1978 for breaking by SIPSA.

Heiyo Maru

Heiyo Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Nishi Nippon
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 1416
Official Number 67209
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 6,851
Deadweight (DWT) 9306
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 132.3 Metres
Overall Length 141 Metres
Breadth or Beam 18.1 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 13.5

Additional Construction Information

  • Keel laid down 15 March 1950

Career Highlights

Date Event
25 January 1951 Launched
9 April 1951 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Great Glory and owner to Great Fortune Nav Co SA 1972. Taken to Kaohsiung 28 March 1977 for breaking by Li Chong Steel & Iron Works Co

Iwashiro Maru

Iwashiro Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Ishikawajima-Harima
Shipyard Aioi
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 680
Official Number 100084
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 9,974
Deadweight (DWT) 12511
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 147 Metres
Overall Length 159.4 Metres
Breadth or Beam 22.5 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 18

Career Highlights

Date Event
20 July 1966 Launched
October 1966 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Zinc Trader and owner to Arto Maritime Inc 1982. Broken up in China 1980.

Lima Maru

Lima Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 334
Official Number 26947
Call Sign JCMD
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 6,989
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 4,298
Length 445 Ft.
Overall Length N/K
Breadth or Beam 58 Ft.
Depth 34 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Two engines each with cylinders of bore 20 1/2", 33 1/2", 56" and stroke 48"
Engine Builder Mitsubishi
Engine Builder Works Nagasaki
Engine Builder Country Japan
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 12

Additional Construction Information

  • Keel laid down 24 October 1919
  • 2 decks

Career Highlights

Date Event
25 March 1920 Launched
25 April 1920 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Act of War)
Service History Information Sunk by torpedo fired by American submarine USS Snook on 8 February 1944 at position 32°18' N, 129°20' E whilst en route from Moji to Kaohsiung

Lyons Maru

Lyons Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Yokohama Dock Co Ltd
Shipyard Yokohama
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 69
Official Number 26949
Call Sign JOMD
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 7,018
Deadweight (DWT) N/K
Net Tonnage 4,340
Length 445 Ft.
Overall Length 461.6 Ft.
Breadth or Beam 58 Ft.
Depth 34 Ft.
Draught N/K
Engine Type Triple-expansion Steam Engine
Engine Details Two engines each with cylinders of bore 20 1/2", 33 1/2", 56" and stroke 48"
Engine Builder Yokohama Dock Co Ltd
Engine Builder Works Yokohama
Engine Builder Country Japan
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Twin Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 12

Additional Construction Information

  • 2 decks

Career Highlights

Date Event
N/K Launched
6 May 1920 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Sunk/foundered (Act of War)
Service History Information Sunked by bombing from the US Navy on 17 January 1944 at position 4°13' S, 152°12' E.

Sado Maru

Sado Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Yokohama
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 805
Official Number 74613
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 9,575
Deadweight (DWT) 11194
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145 Metres
Overall Length 155.3 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.6 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 17.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
25 February 1956 Launched
May 1956 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Taken to Tadotsu for breaking October 1979 - work completed 30 November 1979

Saitama Maru

Saitama Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Yokohama
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 830
Official Number 83207
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 9,385
Deadweight (DWT) 11377
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145.1 Metres
Overall Length 155.4 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.6 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 18

Career Highlights

Date Event
11 April 1959 Launched
June 1959 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Java Career and owner to Java Maritime Carriers Inc 1977. Taken to Shanghai for breaking 31 March 1979

Sanuki Maru

Sanuki Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 1443
Official Number 75431
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 9,308
Deadweight (DWT) 10865
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145 Metres
Overall Length 156.6 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.6 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 17.5

Additional Construction Information

  • Keel laid down 8 November 1954

Career Highlights

Date Event
25 January 1955 Launched
15 May 1955 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Baltic Career and owner to Baltic Maritime Carriers Inc 1955, change of name to Flores Career 1975. Taken to Osaka 14 June 1978 for breaking by Sangyo Shinko K.K.

Shizuoka Maru

Shizuoka Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Yokohama
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 822
Official Number 81057
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 9,364
Deadweight (DWT) 11539
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 145.1 Metres
Overall Length 155.3 Metres
Breadth or Beam 19.6 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 17.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
20 March 1958 Launched
May 1958 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Topaz Express and owner to Vilalara Maritime Inc 1978. Taken to Bombay 18 March 1982 for breaking by Agra Steel Corp

Yamashiro Maru

Unusually, the Allen Collection includes two photos of this vessel.

Yamashiro Maru
Click image for enlarged view
Yamashiro Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 1588
Official Number 90986
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 10,032
Deadweight (DWT) 12693
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 150 Metres
Overall Length 161 Metres
Breadth or Beam 23 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 19.5

Career Highlights

Date Event
August 1963 Launched
November 1963 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to Kyra and owner to Fanny Sg Co Ltd 1974, change of name to Michele and owner to North Lorne Crop 1983. Taken to Alang 28 November 1983 for breaking by Gautani Shipbreaking Industries

Yamagata Maru

Yamagata Maru
Click image for enlarged view

Basic Data

Item Value
Type Cargo Ship (Ref)
Original Owners and Managers Nippon Yusen KK
Country First Registered Japan
Shipbuilder Mitsubishi
Shipyard Nagasaki
Country where built Japan
Yard Number 1620
Official Number 98315
Call Sign N/K
Classification Society N/K
Gross Tonnage 10,039
Deadweight (DWT) 12609
Net Tonnage N/K
Length 150 Metres
Overall Length 161 Metres
Breadth or Beam 23 Metres
Depth N/K
Draught N/K
Engine Type Diesel Engine
Engine Details N/K
Engine Builder N/K
Engine Builder Works N/K
Engine Builder Country N/K
Boiler Details N/K
Propulsion Type Single Screw
Power N/K
Maximum Speed 19.5

Additional Construction Information

  • Keel laid down May 1965

Career Highlights

Date Event
11 October 1965 Launched
December 1965 Completed

Crew and Capacity Information

Item Value
Crew N/K
Passengers N/K
Cargo Capacity N/K

Status and Service History Information

Item Value
Status Broken Up
Service History Information Change of name to African Express and owner to Ashaye Sg Co 1979, change of owner to African Express Sg Co 1981. Taken to Shanghai for breaking January 1984


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