An outline of R/V Kairei and recent activity of the multichannel seismic reflection survey system (MCS) and ROV Kaiko
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The deep-sea research vessel Kairei was built in 1996 to carry out general deep-sea research, and is now active throughout the world. Kairei is the mother ship for the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Kaiko, which is also equipped with deep-sea research systems. The role of the Kairei is to conduct detailed research on the tectonics of subduction zones and the sea bed in the deep ocean. A multichannel seismic reflection survey system (MCS) was developed in 1997 to investigate the focal mechanism of the huge earthquakes that occurr in subduction zones around Japan. In 1999, a new system was introduced into the MCS system. It took almost a year to improve the new towing assembly for the air gun array. Kaiko is currently the only ROV that can reach a depth of over 10 000 m. The system's ability was proved in various operating conditions, and Kaiko has continued to make new scientific discoveries. The Kairei's deep-sea observation system has become very powerful and stable. These systems will pursue the challenge to understand the unknown global deep-sea frontier.
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