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The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s new drill ship Chikyu (“Earth” in Japanese) is launched in Tamano-shi, Japan, in January 2002. The 57,500-ton, 210-meter (689-foot)-long ship will be capable of drilling 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) below the seafloor—sufficient to reach the mantle. Its derrick was installed in September 2003 and after sea trials, Chikyu should be ready by late 2006. Photo courtesy Japan Marine Science and Technology Center and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
The CHIKYU is equipped with seven large marine thrusters, which are used when the vessel is engaged in seabed drilling and exploration activities. Each thruster receives signals from DPS to maintain the vessel's position at sea, and helps hold the hull in a prescribed position without allowing it to be affected by winds and currents. The vessel has six Azimuth Thrusters (Kawasaki Rexpellers), which are capable of developing thrust in any direction in a 360-degree range on the horizontal plane.