Research vessel contract for Mitsubishi Heavy

JAMSTEC’s new research ship, to be built by MHI JAMSTEC’s new research ship, to be built by MHI

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has received an order for construction of a wide-area seabed research vessel from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

Construction is to get under way at MHI's Shimonoseki yard during the current fiscal year, with completion scheduled for March 2016. The 5,500gt ship will be about 100m long and 19m wide. It will be capable of around 12 knots, with capacity for 65 personnel.

It is being designed for operation of research equipment including a seismic system for investigating crustal structure, large piston corers and a seafloor-mounted excavator for collecting seabed samples, ROV, and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). It will be outfitted with a laboratory enabling analysis of collected samples as soon as they are taken. As well as its seafloor resource research role, the new ship will be able to contribute to disaster prevention research.

MHI says that it was selected by JAMSTEC in a competitive tender process, and chosen for its technological strengths and experience of building advanced research vessels. Previous deliveries in this category include Shinsei Maru, used by JAMSTEC off the coast of Tohoku in northeast Honshu, and Hakurei, delivered to Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to study marine resources. The yard hopes to build on this record with the new ship to attract further research vessel orders.

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