Bismarck Sea

The Bismarck Sea (German: Bismarcksee) lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean within the nation of Papua New Guinea. It is located northeast of the island of New Guinea and south of the Bismarck Archipelago and the Admiralty Islands. It has coastlines in districts of the Islands Region, Momase Region, and Papua Region.

Bismarck Sea
Bismarck Sea is located northeast of the island of New Guinea
Bismarck Sea in Papua New Guinea
LocationOceania
Coordinates4°S 148°E / 4°S 148°ECoordinates: 4°S 148°E / 4°S 148°E
TypeSea
EtymologyOtto von Bismarck
Part ofPacific Ocean
Basin countriesPapua New Guinea
SettlementsMadang

Geography

Like the Bismarck Archipelago, it is named in honour of the first German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The Bismarck Archipelago extends round to the east and north of the sea, enclosing the Bismarck Sea and separating it from the Southern Pacific Ocean. To the south it is linked to the Solomon Sea by the Vitiaz Strait.[1]

Official boundaries

Bamus, Ulawun, and Lolobau from space
Ulawun Volcano and Lolobau Island in the Bismarck Sea.

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the Bismarck Sea as "that area of the South Pacific Ocean off the northeast coast of New Guinea", with the following limits:[2]

On the North and East. By the Northern and Northeastern coasts of the islands of New Ireland, New Hanover, the Admiralty Islands, Hermit Island, and the Ninigo Group, through Manu and Aua Islands to Wuvulu Island and thence a line to Baudissin Point in New Guinea (142°02'E).

On the Southeast. A line from the Southern point of New Ireland along the parallel of 4°50' South to the coast of New Britain, along its Northern coast and thence a line from its Western extreme through the Northern point of Umboi Island to Teliata Point, New Guinea (5°55′S 147°24′E / 5.917°S 147.400°E)

On the Southwest. By the Northeast coast of New Guinea.

Mineral wealth

Recent explorations in the Bismarck Sea seabed have yielded discoveries of mineral-rich beds of sulfides, copper, zinc, silver and gold. These findings are especially important because they lie in shallow, calm waters. Papua New Guinea owns the mining rights to these minerals under international law.[3]

History

It was the site of a major Japanese naval defeat in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea during World War II on 3 and 4 March 1943.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Bismarck Sea". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  2. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  3. ^ "The Mineral Wealth of the Bismarck Sea". Scientific American Digital. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  4. ^ "Pacific War Maps". Retrieved 15 July 2007.

External links

Aiyo Maru

Aiyo Maru was a 2,746-ton transport ship of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

She left Rabaul, New Britain on 1 March 1943, as part of Operation 81, carrying a cargo of 252 troops, equipment, fuel, landing craft and ammunition for Lae, New Guinea. The convoy was attacked by aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force from 2 March 1943, known as the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Aiyo Maru was bombed on 3 March and sank at 07°15'S., 148°30'E. Up to 323 soldiers and sailors were killed.

Battle of the Bismarck Sea

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea (2–4 March 1943) took place in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) during World War II when aircraft of the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) attacked a Japanese convoy carrying troops to Lae, New Guinea. Most of the Japanese task force was destroyed, and Japanese troop losses were heavy.

The Japanese convoy was a result of a Japanese Imperial General Headquarters decision in December 1942 to reinforce their position in the South West Pacific. A plan was devised to move some 6,900 troops from Rabaul directly to Lae. The plan was understood to be risky, because Allied air power in the area was strong, but it was decided to proceed because otherwise the troops would have to be landed a considerable distance away and march through inhospitable swamp, mountain and jungle terrain without roads before reaching their destination. On 28 February 1943, the convoy – comprising eight destroyers and eight troop transports with an escort of approximately 100 fighter aircraft – set out from Simpson Harbour in Rabaul.

The Allies had detected preparations for the convoy, and naval codebreakers in Melbourne (FRUMEL) and Washington, D.C., had decrypted and translated messages indicating the convoy’s intended destination and date of arrival. The Allied Air Forces had developed new techniques they hoped would improve the chances of successful air attack on ships. They detected and shadowed the convoy, which came under sustained air attack on 2–3 March 1943. Follow-up attacks by PT boats and aircraft were made on 4 March. All eight transports and four of the escorting destroyers were sunk. Of 6,900 troops who were badly needed in New Guinea, only about 1,200 made it to Lae. Another 2,700 were rescued by destroyers and submarines and returned to Rabaul. The Japanese made no further attempts to reinforce Lae by ship, greatly hindering their ultimately unsuccessful efforts to stop Allied offensives in New Guinea.

Bismarck Archipelago

The Bismarck Archipelago is a group of islands off the northeastern coast of New Guinea in the western Pacific Ocean and is part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea. Its area is about 50,000 square km.

Japanese destroyer Asashio (1936)

Asashio (朝潮, "Morning Tide") was the lead ship of the ten Asashio-class destroyers built for the Imperial Japanese Navy in the mid-1930s under the Circle Two Program (Maru Ni Keikaku).

Japanese destroyer Shirayuki (1928)

Shirayuki (白雪, ”White Snow”) was the second of twenty-four Fubuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. When introduced into service, these ships were the most powerful destroyers in the world. They served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, and remained formidable weapons systems well into the Pacific War.

Japanese minelayer Okinoshima

Okinoshima (沖島) was a large minelayer of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which was in service during the early stages of World War II. She was named after the Okinoshima Island in the Sea of Japan and the earlier Japanese battleship Okinoshima. She was the largest purpose-built minelayer of the Imperial Japanese Navy and the first Japanese minelayer to be equipped with a reconnaissance seaplane.

Japanese transport Kembu Maru

Kembu Maru was a 953-ton transport ship of Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

She left Rabaul, New Britain on 1 March 1943, as part of Operation 81, carrying a cargo of 1,000 drums of avgas and 650 drums of other fuel for Lae, New Guinea. The convoy was attacked by aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force from 2 March 1943, known as the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Kembu Maru was bombed on 3 March; she exploded in a giant fireball and sank at 07°15'S., 148°30'E.

20 troops are KIA.

Karkar Island

Karkar Island is an oval-shaped volcanic island located in the Bismarck Sea, about 30 kilometres off the north coast of mainland Papua New Guinea in Madang Province. The island is about 25 km in length and 19 km in width. In the centre is an active volcano with two nested calderas.

The land is covered with the volcanic andesitic lava. The soil is very fertile and used for growing food crop and cash crop. The island is full of betel-nut, mustard plant and lime. The island is also known for the view from the mountain looking down to Madang town.

The latest eruptions on this island occurred in the 1970s. The 1974-1975 eruption produced a large volume of lava which covered almost 70 percent of the inner caldera's floor, while 1979 produced no lava flow, but killed the two volcanologists, Robin Cooke and Elias Ravian. The volcano erupted as recently as February 26, 2013.The population of approximately 70,000 is mostly Lutheran and Catholic and speaks the two languages Waskia and Takia. Most people also speak Tok Pisin, and English is taught in the schools. Neighboring islands are Bagabag (Papua New Guinea) and Manam.

A single road runs around the entire length of the island. Karkar Secondary School is the only high school. There is one hospital, Gaubin Hospital, known formally as the Edwin & Tabitha Tscharke Memorial Hospital, which is run by the Lutheran Health Service and staffed by several rotating German doctors. The hospital includes a training center for Community Health Workers.

The two main exports from the island are cacao and coconuts, which can grow in the same soil due to vast height differences. Large plantations are generally family owned.

Manam Motu

Manam, known locally as Manam Motu, is an island located in the Bismarck Sea across the Stephan Strait from Yawar on the northeast coast of mainland Papua New Guinea's Bogia District. The island is 10 kilometers wide, and was created by the activity of the Manam Volcano, one of the country’s most active. It was evacuated in 2004 and its residents resettled elsewhere in Papua New Guinea, but many have begun to return despite concerns of future volcanic activity.

North Bismarck Plate

The North Bismarck Plate is a small tectonic plate located in the Bismarck Sea off the northeast coast of New Guinea.

Pam Islands

The Pam Islands are an island group of the Admiralty Islands archipelago in the Bismarck Sea, within Papua New Guinea.

They are located to the south of Manus Island, to the south-west of Lou Island. The main island is Baluan Island, heavily forested, which has a settlement called Mouk on its northern coast.

The Baluan-Pam language is spoken here.

Purdy Islands

The Purdy Islands (or Mwilitau Islands) are an uninhabited island group in the Bismarck Sea, belonging to Papua New Guinea. The Purdy Islands, Mole, Mouse, Rat, plus Bat and Alim (or North Bat and South Bat), form part of the Admiralty Islands group, in Manus Province.

SS Kyokusei Maru

SS Kyokusei Maru (Kanji:旭盛丸) was a 3,794 GRT transport ship of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Built by J. Coughlan & Sons, Vancouver and launched in June 1920, as Margaret Coughlan for the Western Canada Steamship Company. She was renamed Chilcop in 1924, Shun Hwa (盛華) in 1936, and Kyokusei Maru in 1938.

She left Rabaul, New Britain on 1 March 1943, as part of Operation 81, carrying a cargo 1,200 troops of the 115th Infantry Regiment, equipment, fuel, landing craft and ammunition for Lae, New Guinea. The convoy was attacked by aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force from 2 March 1943, known as the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Kyokusei Maru was bombed by B-17s of the 64th Bombardment Squadron on 2 March and sank at 06°40′S 147°10′E, the first ship in the Japanese convoy sunk during the battle. The destroyers Yukikaze and Asagumo plucked 950 survivors from the water. The two destroyers landed the survivors at Lae. The rest of the 486 soldiers and sailors on board were killed.

SS Sin-ai Maru (1921)

Sin-ai Maru, also known as Shin-ai Maru was a 3,794 ton transport ship of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Built by Fujimagata Dockyard, Osaka and launched in 1921 as Shin-ai Maru. She was renamed Sin-ai Maru in 1938.

She left Rabaul, New Britain on 1 March 1943, as part of Operation 81, carrying a cargo of troops, equipment, fuel, landing craft and ammunition for Lae, New Guinea. The convoy was attacked by aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force from 2 March 1943, known as the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Sin-ai Maru was bombed on 3 March and sank at 07°15'S., 148°30'E.

18 crew, 45 gunners and an unknown number of troops were KIA..

SS Taimei Maru (1936)

Taimei Maru was a 2,883 ton transport ship of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.

Built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K., Yokohama and launched in 1936 for Kinkai Yusen K.K. She was sold in 1939 to Nippon Yusen K.K..

She left Rabaul, New Britain on 1 March 1943, as part of Operation 81, carrying a cargo of troops, equipment, fuel, landing craft and ammunition for Lae, New Guinea. The convoy was attacked by aircraft of the United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force from 2 March 1943, known as the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Taimei Maru was bombed on 3 March and sank at 07°15'S., 148°30'E.

Of those aboard, some 200 were killed during the attack.

Sakar Island

Sakar Island is a volcanic island north-west of New Britain in the Bismarck Sea, at 5.416667°S 148.1°E / -5.416667; 148.1. It is a stratovolcano with a summit crater lake. No recorded eruptions are known.

South Bismarck Plate

The South Bismarck Plate is a small tectonic plate located in the southern Bismarck Sea. The eastern part of New Guinea and the island of New Britain are on this plate.

The Bismarck Convoy Smashed

Bismark Convoy Smashed! is a 1943 Australian documentary film about the Battle of the Bismarck Sea on 2–3 March resulting in the destruction of 22 Japanese ships, their crews and 15,000 soldiers.

It was also known as Battle of the Bismark Sea.

It used footage shot by Damien Parer.

USS Bismarck Sea

USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) was a Casablanca class escort carrier of the United States Navy. She was launched on 17 April 1944 by Kaiser Co., Inc., Vancouver, Washington, under a Maritime Commission contract as Alikula Bay; sponsored by Mrs. M. C. Wallgren, wife of Senator Monrad Wallgren; renamed Bismarck Sea on 16 May 1944; transferred to the Navy on 20 May 1944; and commissioned the same day, with Captain J. L. Pratt in command.

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