CDEX Web Magazine 地球発見

Face:The task, the focus and the rewards for an American in Japan

 Dr. Sean Toczko, JAMSTEC Senior Technical Scientist, IODP Promotion Group, CDEX, and an Expedition Project Manager for Drilling Vessel CHIKYU.
Sean leads a very challenging and yet satisfying career exploring some of the most potentially disaster-prone undersea real estate in the world.

Sean Toczko
Expedition Project Manager

What drew you to JAMSTEC, CDEX and NanTroSEIZE?

 “It's a very different kind of project, its uniqueness was a big drawing point. It's similar to working with NASA and it compares very well when you consider what we're studying and how we're studying it. ”What stands out is the level of integration and cooperation internationally and it's long history. It's a fairly massive science program interested in some big questions. Each expedition's focused on something new or different. This is one of the best places in the world to actually do what we're doing. The science has been pretty exciting. Drilling in Tohoku took a great deal of preparation because of the extreme water depth, almost seven kilometers. One of the big moments was bringing up core samples of what actually happened during the Great East Japan Earthquake and that was like Christmas for the scientists.”

So what's a typical year in an EPM's life look like?

 “The year before last I was on two projects. But typically, if we're doing riserless drilling, I'll spend two months a year drilling aboard the ship CHIKYU. When we do riser-type it takes about 30 days at sea to get rigged up and ready to go before we do any drilling. But it's the preparation time, before the CHIKYU leaves port, that takes the most time -usually about one year”

Are there any issues working with a multinational group for extend periods at close quarters?

 “JAMSTEC and CHIKYU's drilling expeditions bring together an international scientific community for the chance to do some incredible projects from a very unique, leading-edge research ship. Cross-cultural differences are not usually an issue because a lot of the people have been on another research vesse so they already have the experience of being in a closed, isolated environment. By the very nature of this work, a lot of what's done is based on international cooperation with collaborating scientists so they know what's waiting for them aboard ship.”