Recent photo of motor vessel Krait underway.
Reproduced courtesy of the Australian National Maritime Museum

Type: Commando Boat
Built: 1934 in Japan

Length: 70 feet
Beam: 11 feet
Draft: 5 feet
Displacement: 68 tons
Speed: 6.5 knots

Australian National Maritime Museum
GPO Box 5131
Sydney, NSW 2001
+61 2 9298 3777
Fax: +61 2 9298 3780
Latitude: -33.8685910357, Longitude: 151.199744211
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Kofuku Maru was a fishing tender commandeered early in WW II. After the fall of Singapore, she was employed in the rescue of evacuees from ships which had been sunk along the east coast of Sumatra. Some 1100 people were transported in renamed, Krait, during this period. When the Netherlands East Indies surrendered, Krait was sailed to India by a civilian Mr. W.R. Reynolds. She eventually reached Australia and because it was a former Japanese vessel it was selected for an audacious attack deep into Imperial Japanese held territory.

Operation Jaywick was conducted by the Z Special unit, Australian Services Reconnaissance department. She sailed from Western Australia in 1943 with 14 Australian and British special forces personnel disguised as Japanese fisherman. After a 22 day trip she arrived near Singapore on 24 September. Six men in three folboats (folding two man canoes) were launched from Krait under cover of darkness and travelled 50 kilometers to a small island near the harbor. On the evening of 26 September they entered Singapore Harbor undetected. Using limpet mines the commandos sank or damaged over 37,000 tons of Japanese tankers and freighters.

The vessel is on loan for restoration and exhibit from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Ship Krait underway during the war.
Reproduced courtesy of the Australian National Maritime Museum

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