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Safety DRILL on the ChikyuAugust 15, 2012

Around 10 minutes before 10:00 a.m. on every Sunday, all researchers and ship staff come together - fully-armored with personal protective equipment such as coverall, safety goggle, safety shoes, gloves, and helmets and life jackets. It's time for evacuation "drill".

Scientists fully prepared for the drill.

The emergency alarm rings and then everybody heads to their assigned life boat. Next to each life boat, we find the "T-card muster station". After turning our T-card to signal our attendance, we line up in an orderly manner. There are evenly spaced yellow dots painted on the deck and each person gets to stand on a separate dot. This makes counting people and identifying absent people easy. If someone is missing, then life boat crews will search people still inside the ship. The reason why we are not allowed to lock the doors of our cabins now becomes clear: it is to avoid getting left behind in case of emergency.

We can know what kind of accident occurs from patterns of ringing alarm.
It looks like Morse code.

Based on cabin number, people are assigned to life boats at starboard or portside. Three life boats are deployed on each side with capacities of 50 to 75 persons, depending on type. Assuming that the Chikyu can carry 200 persons at the maximum, that is too much. Do you know why?

The reason is that we all have to be able to evacuate from one side if the other side is not available. This would be the case if the ship lists to one side, or fire breaks out on one side. The Chikyu is very stable and we tend to almost forget that we are at sea. But safety awareness and safety drills are nonetheless very important, as becomes clear in the next paragraph.

You have to turn around the T-card in box when you arrive at the muster station.

After turning the card, you have to line up on the dots.
Those are not just cute dots pattern but play significant role in emergency.

It was 4 days before the originally scheduled expedition departure, March 11, 2011, that we were busy setting up instruments and laboratory environment on board. Suddenly we felt a strong jolt, heard an emergency alarm, and saw a tsunami coming over a sea wall. It was not a situation to evacuate outside by life boats, so we gathered in a room on the upper deck. Due to the quick and nerveless evacuation no one was injured but I heard afterwards that the Chikyu turned around in the small port, was damaged and had been in a dangerous situation.

The "DRILL" we do every week leads our quick and safe act in case of emergency.

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