Williamson & Associates, Inc. of Seattle, Washington has completed construction of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) designed to obtain 20 meters of rock core in water depths to 6000 meters.
This is the second such system designed and built by Williamson & Associates, Inc. for Nichiyu Giken Kogyo Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan; the first, delivered in 1996, is still in operation. Called Benthic Multi-coring Systems (BMS), these drills are operated by the Deep Ocean Resources Development Company, Ltd. for
the Japanese Government. Upon completion of local testing and sea trials in
July, the new system was shipped to Japan and installed on the research ship
Hakurei Maru Number 2. Successful deep water acceptance trials were conducted
offshore Japan during September and December, 2005. These trials included
rock drilling in water depths of 3400 meters and 5200 meters resulting in 100%
core recovery in various substrates.
In addition to diamond bit rod coring capability, the new BMS includes 9
video cameras, a scanning sonar system, doppler current meter, attitude
sensors, altimeter, precision depth sensor, hydraulic thrusters and an
emergency release system. All coring and drill monitoring are controlled
topside via a fiberoptic telemetry link. Bit pressure, rotary rpm, rotary
torque, flushing water flow/pressure, selection of specific drill bits and
coring rate are among the operator controlled functions.
Each drill is self-leveling on slopes up to 15 degrees and capable of
drilling on 20 degree slopes. They weigh 5 metric tonnes and are 3.5 meters
wide by 4.5 meters long and stand 5.9 meters high (legs retracted).