Soya: from a cargo to an Antarctic vessel – da cargo a nave antartica

Soya is a japanese museum ship (by Tokyo Maritime museum) that previously served as icebreaker and was the first Japanese ship used for an Antarctic expedition.

Soya è un rompighiaccio oggi musealizzato al Museo Marittimo di Tokyo che fu utilizzato per la prima spedizione Giapponese in Antartide.

The vessel that became the Japanese icebreaker Sōya was originally ordered from the Matsuo shipyard Koyagi Island by the Soviet Union. She was launched from the shipyard February 1938 as Volochaevetz but she was never handed over due to political tensions between Japan and Soviet Union.

L’unità che divenne il rompighiaccio giapponese Soya era stato originariamente ordinato al cantiere Matsuo – Koyagi Island dall’Unione Sovietica. Varata nel 1938 come Volochavetz non fu però mai consegnata a causa della crescente tensione tra i due stati.

MV Soya (Volochaevetz) as in 1938

Completed as an ice-breaking cargo freighter she was renamed Chiryō Maru until Nov. 1939 when she was requisitioned by IJN and she got the name Soya with assigned duties as auxiliary ammunition ship/survey vessel.

Completato come cargo rompighiaccio fu chiamata Chiryō Maru  fino al novembre 1939 quando venne requisita dalla Marina Imperiale Giapponese: le venne dato il nome Soya e venne destinata al servizio di nave da trasporto munizioni e di sorveglianza.

Ammunition ship Soya as in 1941

After the war she served as a repatriation ship and then as a lighthouse supply ship until 1956 when she was overhauled and modified to make her ready for Antarctic research.

Alla fine della guerra fu utilizzata per il rimpatrio dei prigionieri giapponesi e successivamente come nave-faro fino al 1956 quando fu completamente modificata per essere utilizzata come nave da ricerca in Antartide.

Japan - AGB Soya as in 1956

On the second trip, in 1958, she rescued the explorers from the first expedition who had become stranded at the Syowa research station. Unfortunately they had to leave the expedition’s dogs behind. On Soya’s return a year later, two of the dogs, Taro and Jiro were found alive. This event inspired the Disney’s movie “Eight Below”.  A larger helideck was added in 1959.

Nel suo secondo viaggio, nel 1958, recuperò gli esploratori della prima spedizione bloccati alla stazione Syowa, abbandonando però i cani della spedizione al loro destino. L’anno successivo vennero ritrovati sorprendentemente vivi  due dei cani, Jiro a Taro. Questo episodio ispirò il film della Disney “Eight Below”. Nel 1959 venne ulteriormente modificata per realizzate un ponte elicotteri maggiore.

Japan - AGB Soya as in 1959

She was decommissioned in 1978, and in 1979 became a permanent exhibition at the Museum of Maritime Science, Tokyo.

Fu radiata nel 1978 e dal 1979 è stat musealizzata al Museo Marittimo di Tokyo.

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