The Shonan Maru No. 2 is a security vessel in the ICR's fleet. A former harpoon vessel, it is similar in design to the new Yushin Maru class ships, but is longer and has a slightly different bridge design.
The Shonan Maru No. 2 was built 1972 as a harpoon vessel. It was used as a spotter ship around 2000 - 2001, and later as a security ship.
The Shonan Maru No. 2 began tracking the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin, relaying its position to the rest of the fleet, preventing the Sea Shepherds from finding the Nisshin Maru. The Steve Irwin sent Chris Aultman up in the helicopter to investigate. Over the ship Chris documented that Shonan Maru No. 2 had a net and a crew of armed Japanese Merines and Coast Guard. On the bridge Chris saw what he was after the Japanese had an LRAD and they wasted no time testing it out on Chris. The Whalers pointed the LRAD at Chris and blasted it into the cockpit. Chris lost control of the aircraft and was forced to make an emergency landing on the Steve Irwin's deck. The Ady Gil engaged the ship in an attempt to free the Steve Irwin, but is unsuccessful. The Steve Irwin returned to Hobart to lose the Shonan Maru No. 2. On January 6th, 2010 the security ship was called to defend the Nisshin Maru, which had been tracked down by the Bob Barker and Ady Gil. The Ady Gil ran out of fuel and stopped dead in the water. The Shonan Maru No. 2 rammed into the side of the Ady Gil on a perpendicular course, slicing the bow off of the Ady Gil. The Bob Barker attempted to radio the Shonan Maru No. 2, but the security ship maintained radio silence for several minutes before finally acknowledging the mayday and offering assistance. The Sea Shepherds requested that the ship stand by. The Shonan Maru No. 2 continued to tail the Sea Shepherds. Ady Gil captain Pete Bethune plotted to board the whaling vessel and arrest the captain for destroying his ship. The Shonan Maru No. 2 lost track of the Bob Barker as it approached a French base. The French did not permit the whaling ship to enter its waters. The next time the Shonan Maru No. 2 encountered the Sea Shepherds was when the Bob Barker tracked down the Nisshin Maru. The Shonan Maru No. 2 and the three harpoon ships circled the Bob Barker to slow it down. The Bob Barker broke free of the circle, colliding with the Yushin Maru No. 3 in the process. Later, when the Steve Irwin arrived, the Shonan Maru attempted to use its water cannons to destroy the Sea Shepherd's helicopter. The Bob Barker successfully fended it off.
On February 15th, 2010, Pete Bethune boarded the Shonan Maru No. 2 via jet ski in the middle of the night. He intended to confront the captain for the destruction of his ship. Bethune remained undetected through the night and waited for sunlight for the helicopter to supervise his boarding. Bethune revealed himself to the bridge of the Shonan Maru No. 2 and was confronted by the crew. He presented a letter stating his intent to arrest the Shonan Maru No. 2's captain and transfer him to the Steve Irwin, but he himself was arrested and taken to Japan for trial. On July 7th, 2010, he was released with a suspended sentence.
Having been absent the previous season, the Shonan Maru No. 2 returned in 2011. It was repainted white with "GOVERNMENT OF JAPAN" printed on its side. It continued its role as a security vessel for the whaling fleet and continuously tailed the Steve Irwin. In January, 2012, three men from Forest Rescue Australia assisted the Sea Shepherds by boarding the Shonan Maru No. 2. They were held on board for several days before being released to Australian authorities.
The Shonan Maru No. 2 continued guarding the whaling fleet in the 2012-2013 whaling season. The Sea Shepherd vessel Sam Simon attempted to block the vessel from refueling with the Sun Laurel, but failed.
Arrest by the Russians Edit
In August 2014 during the two-year hiatus on commercial whaling because of the ICJ Lawsuit Shonan Maru No. 2 was arrested by the Russian Coast Guard south of Naval Station Vladivostok Russia. The ship was detained for about a week in Vladivostok before the Japanese Whalers paid Vladimir Putin 30,000 Rubles (53,000 Yen or $830 in the US) before Putin allowed them to release the boat.
2016 - 2017 season Edit
The Shonan Maru No. 2 was no longer guarding the fleet, having been replaced by the Kaiyo Maru no. 7