In April 1945, the Awa Maru was a Japanese ocean liner requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese navy, sailing under the protection of the Red Cross with 2004 passengers and crew. After delivering Red Cross supplies to Singapore, the Awa Maru took on stranded merchant marine officers, military personnel, diplomats and civilians and departed for Japan.

In accordance with an agreement with the Allies, the Japanese disclosed the route the ship would take back to Japan from Singapore. Under the 1929 Geneva Convention (which Japan signed but did not ratify) the ship was to be given safe passage through the war zone.

Late on the foggy night of April 1, 1945, the Awa Maru was torpedoed in the Taiwan Strait by the American submarine USS Queenfish (SS-393), which reportedly misidentified the liner as an Imperial Japanese destroyer. All 2,004 passengers and crew, save one, went down with the ship.

Commander Charles Elliott Loughlin of the USS Queenfish was subsequently convicted of negligence in obeying orders and given a Letter of Admonition from the Secretary of the Navy.

USS Queenfish