Japan’s Drilling Vessel Chikyu Damaged By Tsunami

Remember Chikyu? Japan’s monster ship also called “Godzilla-maru” because of its 210 m length and a drill derrick that rises 100 m off the deck. The rig dwarfs the Statue of Liberty, nearly matches the height of the St. Louis arch.

Japans half-billion-dollar deep-sea drilling vessel was also a casualty of the tsunami following the massive 11 March earthquake.The Chikyu was docked at Hachinohe, 250 kilometers north of Sendai, on 11 March when the rise‑and‑fall of water levels caused it to scrape bottom. That collision snapped off one of the six thrusters that maintain the ships position while drilling, a feature that makes it so valuable for deep-sea drilling. As a result, a 68-day research expedition to study the deep coal bed biosphere off Shimokita, Japan, has been canceled.Asahiko Taira, a vice president of the Japan Agency for Marine‑Earth Science and Technology, said that it will take 2 to 3 months to repair the vessel. No word on any rescheduling of the expedition, which was sponsored by the international Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.At the time of the tsunami, Chikyu scientists were hosting a class of schoolchildren on a field trip. “The tsunami washed into the harbor; there was no way to escape,” Taira told Science. All those aboard evacuated safely

via Quake Scuttles Mission to Study Deep-Sea Carbon – ScienceInsider.

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

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