oceans, which cover over 70% of the earth's surface, provide
us with multitudes of nature's bounties. The deep sea is also
a goldmine of mineral- and bio-resources and holds the key to solving
the mysteries of earth's environmental changes and seismogenic
mechanism. Nippon Marine Enterprises, Ltd., a group company wholly
owned by Nissui, has been entrusted with the operations and the
management of the offshore/deepwater exploration vessels owned by
the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC),
and supports and contributes to world-class deep-sea investigation
Japan will sink within a year due to a major movement
of the earth's
crust near the Japan trench… What ultimately saved Japan from
this peril in the 2006 version film of the Sakyo Komatsu's
bestseller, Japan Sinks, was a manned research submersible. Nippon
Marine Enterprises, Ltd. and JAMSTEC fully cooperated with this film
from the planning stage. The manned research submersibles, Shinkai
6500 (hereinafter "6K") and Shinkai 2000 (hereinafter "2K"),
and the deep-sea drilling vessel, Chikyu, appeared in the film and
the working staff of the two organizations cooperated in the filming
and played a major role in the making of the film.
In the past the
ocean depths had been a world of darkness closed off to mankind.
It was almost impossible to believe that any living creatures could
live in the abyssal sea. Mankind's foray into
the deep sea began toward the end of the 19th century and with the
advances in science in the 20th century, marine science also began
to make dramatic progress. However, it must be remembered that whereas
the average altitude above ground is 800 meters, the ocean's
average water depth is 3,800 meters. Moreover no light or radio
waves reach the ocean depths. It is said that it is far more difficult
to investigate the deep sea than it is to explore outer space and
there are still large portions of the sea that have not been explored.
are also learning that the seafloor is home to various mineral-
and bio-resources, as well as holding the key to solving the mysteries
of global environmental changes such as earthquakes and global warming.
Detailed probes into seafloor topography and research into ocean
bottom geology are also required for laying down undersea cables.
The ocean depths have become the most important frontier for the
21st century both in the academic and social contexts.