Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has signed an agreement to construct a wide-area seabed research vessel for the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).

The construction is set to begin in 2013 and end by March 2016.

To be built at MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the wide-area seabed research vessel will be around 100m in length and 19m in width, with gross tonnage of nearly 5,500t.

The vessel will have space for 65 crew members and will move at a sea speed of approximately 12 knots.

The vessel will be used to conduct survey research of seafloor resources, elucidate mineral and ore deposit origins and formation conditions, and will also contribute to disaster prevention research.

To perform all these activities, the vessel will be equipped with a seismic research system for investigating crustal structure, large piston corers and a seafloor-mounted excavator for collecting seabed samples, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

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By GlobalData

MHI aims to use the technological strengths used in the construction of the new research vessel to attract new orders for research vessels.

The new vessel will join MHI’s portfolio of research vessels that includes Shinsei Maru, delivered to JAMSTEC for studying the marine ecosystem, and the Hakurei, delivered to Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) for studying marine resources.

Image: Conceptual drawing of the wide-area seabed research vessel. Credit: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.