The Sun Laurel is a South Korean bunker ship. Since 2010, it has been used as a refueling ship by the Japanese whaling fleet.
The Sun Laurel was spotted by the Gojira while it was searching for the Nisshin Maru. After a brief radio conversation with the Sun Laurel's captain, the Sea Shepherds determined that the ship was a bunker vessel for the whaling fleet. They believed that it would lead them to the Nisshin Maru when it refuels. The Steve Irwin and Bob Barker joined the Gojira in pursuing the vessel. The crew of the Bob Barker placed a tracking device on the Sun Laurel in the middle of the night before the Sea Shepherds broke off to search for the Nisshin Maru.
The Sun Laurel was discovered by the Sam Simon as it was attempting to refuel the whaling fleet. The Sam Simon's crew documented oil leaking from the Sun Laurel. The Sun Laurel refueled the Yushin Maru and the Shonan Maru No. 2 before heading off to refuel the rest of the whaling fleet. The Sea Shepherd's main strategy this year was to form a blockade around the Sun Laurel preventing the Nisshin Maru from refueling.
On February 20th, all nine ships present in the whaling conflict gathered as the Nisshin Maru attempted its refueling. The Sea Shepherds held their blockade and the Nisshin Maru collided with all three Sea Shepherd vessels as well as the Sun Laurel. The Sun Laurel sustained scrapes and a damaged life boat system.
During the engagement, the Sun Laurel crew tossed a bottled note to the Sea Shepherds reading: "To Research ship. Please: ‘May Day’ ‘Help’ All crew did not know to this Antarctic trip. So all crew don’t like to supply this fishing vessels. We cannot use telephone so we cannot speak to IMO. Please you as soon as possible catch action. Thank U" The note revealed that the crew were being held against their will and were forced to commit illegal actions. The Sea Shepherds threw several Operation Zero Tolerance shirts to the Sun Laurel crew.