October 29, 1999
Japan Marine Science and Technology Center

Contract for Basic Design of Deep Earth Surveyor Riser Drillship

On October 28, 1999, Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (President, Takuya HIRANO) signed a contract (amounting to approximately 1.1 billion Japanese yen) with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. for the basic design of a "Deep Earth Surveyor Riser Drillship". Under this contract, meanwhile, it has been agreed that Mitsui Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Ltd. is to be designated as sub-contractor in charge of the DPS (NOTE) and related system.

The "Deep Earth Surveyor Riser Drillship " is the most advanced scientific riser drillship in the world, being finally aimed at reaching the mantle in the ocean area at a water depth of approximately 2,500 meters (approximately 4,000 meters in the future). Operating this drillship will contribute to the integral understandings of earth and life sciences by clarifying the earth-changing mechanisms, such as climatic changes, earthquakes, and searching for the unknown underground biosphere and gas hydrate. The Deep Earth Surveyor Riser Drillship, meanwhile, makes a central position in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), which will be internationally conducted on, with the lead taken by Japan and the USA.

For this drillship, technological studies were started in fiscal 1990. The research started in fiscal 1995 into the "Overall System" has accelerated the study of its concrete basic specifications (vessel size, drilling depth, etc.).

The basic design of the Vessel is scheduled to be accomplished in February 2000.

(NOTE) DPS (Dynamic Positioning System): system to hold a ship within a specified range of its positions throughout the drilling operation.

(Future Construction Time Schedule [planned])
OCT/1999: Start the basic design.
FEB/2000: Accomplish the basic design.
MAR/2000: Sign a construction contract.
FISCAL 2005: Complete the construction.