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 (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His 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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