The Piper Maru was a French salvage ship.
The name of the Piper Maru is a curious hybrid of English and Japanese that roughly translates as the "SS Piper". Maru is Japanese for "ship". Piper is either a job name meaning a bagpipe-player, the scientific name for a genus of plant (Piper), the common name (Sandpiper) for a family of birds (Scolopacidae), or the common name (New Zealand Piper) of a species of fish (Hyporhamphus ihi).
The ship left San Diego to recover the remains of a P-51 Mustang in the Pacific Ocean and inadvertently rediscovered the black oil. Bernard Gauthier was infected and the rest of the crew suffered major radiation burns. Gauthier navigated the ship back to San Diego.
Agent Fox Mulder learned of the ship and went to San Diego to investigate it with Dana Scully after the Navy investigation unit had searched it. They found the diving suit covered in oil as well as the video recordings of its encounter in the sea. (TXF: "Piper Maru")
- Both the ship and the episode in which it appeared were named after Gillian Anderson's daughter, Piper Maru Anderson, who was born during Season 2. The name Maru is particularly apt, as it is a common ending for Japanese ship names. It also means "flower" in Polynesian.
This ship was referenced in the 2004 science fiction horror movie Alien vs. Predator. Mr. Wayland and his crew traveled to the Antarctic on an ice-breaker called the Piper Maru.