Famed as Japan's first Antarctic observation ship, “Soya” was launched in
1938 as an ice-strengthened cargo ship destined for the former USSR, but it
was christened as the Japanese cargo ship “Chiryou-maru”urged by
in 1940, the “Chiryo-maru” was made a special duty ship of the former
Imperial Japanese Navy. After miraculously surviving the World War II,
“Soya”served as a repatriation ship and a lighthouse supply ship. Then, in 1956 it
underwent large-scale remodeling as an ice-breaker for Antarctic observation
and set course for the Antarctic. “Soya” shuttled between Japan and the
Antarctic six times and provided support for the construction of Showa Base,
for Japan's first Antarctic wintering team and for many other operations
related to Antarctic observation. Afterwards, “Soya” served as a patrol boat in
Hokkaido where it made maximum use of its ice-breaking capacity.
Taken out of service in 1978, “Soya” is currently preserved and exhibited at the Museum
of Maritime Science where it is open to the public.