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BuilderMitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard
Launched16 Feb 1937
Displacement3,800 tons standard
Length254 feet
Beam42 feet
MachineryVTE steam engine, 2 boilers, 1 shaft
Speed12 knots


ww2dbaseIn 1936, the Soviet Union asked three icebreakers to be built by Japan as part of the payment for the South Manchuria Railway (as known as the Chinese Eastern Railway). One of the three ships was named Volochaevets, which was being built at the Matsuo Shipyard at Koyagi, Nagasaki, Japan when relationship between the Soviet Union and Japan grew tense in the late 1930s. She was launched in early 1938, but was never handed over to the Soviet Union. Instead, she was turned over to the Tatsunan Kisen Company as an icebreaking cargo freighter, renamed Chiryo Maru. In Nov 1939, she was pressed into Japanese Navy service. In Feb 1940, she was renamed Soya. In naval service, she was used as an auxiliary ammunition ship and a survey vessel. In Jan 1943, she was attacked by American submarine USS Greenling. In Feb 1944, she was attacked by American carrier aircraft of Task Force 58 near Truk in the Caroline Islands, killing 10 and causing her to be temporarily grounded. After the war, Soya became a repatriation ship that brought Japanese service men from various locations in the Pacific back to Japan. She then served as a lighthouse supply ship in the early 1950s. In 1956, she had her steam engines removed, received diesel engines, and received helicopter decks; the work was to get her ready for her expeditions to the Antarctic between 1956 and 1962. In 1958, during her second expedition, she rescued explorers from the first expedition who were stranded at the Syowa research station. In the mid-1960s, she became an icebreaking rescue ship for the Maritime Safety Agency based in Hokkaido, Japan. She was decommissioned in 1978 and became a museum ship in the following year, a role she still plays today at the Museum of Maritime Science in Tokyo, Japan.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Jul 2010

Soya Interactive Map


Museum ship Soya at Museum of the Maritime Science, Tokyo, Japan, 10 Jun 2008

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Museum ship Soya at Museum of the Maritime Science, Tokyo, Japan, 10 Jun 2008

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