Op Ten NoortThe OP TEN NOORT an 6,000 ton Dutch passenger liner based in Java and on regular service between Surabaya and Singapore. Converted to a hospital ship for the Dutch Navy at the outbreak of the war. In harbour at Surabaya during the Battle of the Java Sea, she was dispatched to look for survivors but was intercepted by two Japanese destroyers and ordered to turn back to Bandjarmasin in Borneo where she was boarded and apprehended.
Ordered to take on board 970 Allied prisoners-of-war, including around 800 survivors from the British cruiser Exeter sunk in the Java Sea battle, she sailed for Makassar  and there, for the next eight months served as a hospital facility for the POW camps in the area. Later she sailed for Yokohama under the Japanese flag and a new name 'Tenno Maru'. For the remainder of the war she sailed between Singapore and Manila carrying looted gold and other treasures from the Japanese occupied countries. Just weeks before the war ended she arrived again in Yokohama loaded with 2,000 metric tons of gold but instead of offloading her cargo she then sailed on to the Maisaru Naval Base where more gold and platinum bars, diamonds and other gems were put
on board. (A metric ton of gold equals 26,400 ounces) Realizing the war was over it was decided to sink the ship and recover the treasure at a later date. Just days before the Japanese surrender the Op ten Noort was taken out into Maisaru Bay late at night by a group of high-ranking Japanese naval officers. The Japanese captain and twenty-four crewmen were shot dead and the ship scuttled. When the wreck was found in 1990 the Japanese valued the treasure at thirty billion US dollars (Three trillion Japanese yen)

The Op Ten Noort was completed in 1927 as a merchant ship, but was drafted by the Dutch Navy on 1 December 1941 as a hospital ship. Her subsequent career illustrates the viciousness of the Pacific War: bombed by the Japaneseon February 22, 1942, in violation of the Hague Conventions; commandeered by the Japanese on February 28, in violation of the Hague Conventions; usedby the Japanese in October to transport mines while in hospital colors, in violation of the Hague Conventions; strafed by American carrier aircraft in violation of the Hague Convention; scuttled on August 17, 1945, in violation of the ceasefire. There were incidents involving hospital ships on both sides,but those involving the Op Ten Noort were unquestionably deliberate and especially egregious.

Source : added by Mark aka James Cook, "Seatheships" http://www.seatheships.org.uk
- Photo : A Green