The Salvage of the Kenkon Maru III

by Lynn Salmon 2014

Four old photographs have intrigued me at the Mayne Island Museum for decades. The collection is faded now as they were taken in 1916 when the Kenkon Maru III went aground on Belle Chain Reef on January 12th during a heavy snow storm. The accident did extensive damage to the Japanese owned vessel; one newspaper account declared that she was "... one of the worst wrecks ever hauled into a British Columbia port". The reef had buckled her plates and frames and twisted her keel for over fifty feet.


Kenkon Maru

Kenkon Maru III (Photo from the Mayne Island Museum collection. )

The Japanese steamer Kenkon Maru III, which was formerly known as the Ailsa Craig, was stranded on Belle Chain Reef, adjacent to Mayne Island in the southern Gulf Island Group on British Columbia’s coast. She was bound from Seattle to Nanaimo and then on to Vladivostok Russia.

Kenkon Maru

Kenkon Maru III (Photo from the Mayne Island Museum collection. )

Many attempts had been made to salvage the Kenkon Maru III, and it was only after extra pumps had been placed aboard, tho temporary bulkhead strengthened, and the rocks through the vessel blown away, that the steamer was refloated. The salvage operations were carried out by Japanese brought from the Orient working under K. Inui, managing director of tho Inui Gomei Kaisha, owners of tho vessel.

Kenkon Maru

Kenkon Maru III (Photo from the Mayne Island Museum collection. )

Upon an examination of the vessel it was found that her forefoot, 75 feet of the keel aft had gone, and practically all of her bottom was a conglomerate mass of buckled and twisted plates, and gaping holes to port, aft, and starboard forward. It was acknowledged by all who saw the Kenkon Maru III that she was one of the worst wrecks ever hauled into a British Columbia port. For 40 to 50 feet amidships tho keel was twisted and broken, and it was estimated that a hundred frames and an even larger number of floor plates were twisted and otherwise damaged. It was stated by an officer of the ship that it is desirable that permanent, repairs be made on the Pacific Coast, in view of the fact that return cargo to the Orient at the prevailing high rates would cover the cost of the repair contract.

Kenkon Maru

Kenkon Maru III (Photo from the Mayne Island Museum collection. )

As the Ailsa Craig (ON #97592) she was owned by the Clyde Shipping Co, Glasgow Scotland. In 1910 she was sold to Inui Gomei Kaisha, Futami and renamed as the Kenkon Maru No.3. In 1933 she was scrapped.


To quote from this article please cite:

Salmon, Lynn (2014) The Salvage of the Kenkon Maru III. Nauticapedia.ca 2014. http://nauticapedia.ca/Articles/Kenkon_Maru_Salvage.php

New Nauticapedia Book Just Published!

Volume Four in series

The Nauticapedia List of British Columbia's Floating Heritage Volume Four

Book — British Columbia's Floating Heritage
For more information …

Site News: October 15th, 2017

Databases have been updated and are now holding 50,143 vessel histories (with 4,319 images) and 57,540 mariner biographies (with 3,421 images).


© 2002-2017