Shinkai 2000 and Shinkai 6500, Japan’s SDVs

Japan is surrounded by oceans, so the importance of oceanographic research is not limited to industries such as fisheries. The coastal waters of Japan lie over complex topography of subducting crustily plates; part of this formation is a trench that is over 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) deep. Such subduction is believed to be the cause of a number of major earthquakes, including the Great Hanshin-Hawaii Earthquake of 1995. Also, since this abyssal ocean bed also has an accumulation of sediments resulting from the changes that the earth has undergone over the course of several hundred million years, field investigation of the deep sea will reveal valuable evidence to answer questions about global alterations in the earth`s crust and the geological history of the earth. 

Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC)
is the center of excellence for oceanographic research in Japan. The Center carries out a wide range of research, not only at the deep sea bottom, but also into technology for oceanographic observation and commercial development of the oceans. JAMSTEC operates two manned submersible, research and survey vessels, that have made the Center world famous for its deep-sea technology: the manned Shinkai 2000 and Shinkai 6500, which can carry out oceanographic data collection work at any depth down to 2,000 and 6,500 meters (6,560 and 21,325 feet) respectively; and the unmanned Kaiko. 

Shinkai 2000
, launched in October 1981, took its first dive in Sagami Bay on January 26, 1982. The Shinkai 6500 system, which fully reflects the experience of building and operating the Shinkai 2000 system, is capable of surveying about 96% of Japan`s 200 mile EEZs (Exclusive Economic Zones) and about 98% of the Oceans across the world.
Launched in 1989, the Shinkai 6500 succeeded in diving down to 6,527 meters (21,414 feet) in August 11 of the same year. In March 1995 Kaiko carried out test dives in the Mariana Trench, at 10,911.4 meters (35,798 feet), the deepest in the world. The various data that Kaiko collected during this probing was valuable.
Thanks to Shinkai 6500 and Kaiko, it became clear that the sea from a depth of a few hundred meters, down to several thousand meters represents a variety of ecological formations. For example, we now know that the deep-sea mud at a depth of over 10,000 meters (32,808 feet), a zone of ultrahigh water pressure (about 1000 times greater than air pressure at sea level) and low temperatures (2 degrees Centigrade (35.6 degrees Fahrenheit)) provides a home for about 180 kinds of micro-organisms. 

Technical specifications, Shinkai 2000:

Weight in air (lb/kg):
Payload in air (kg): 100
Dimensions (L*W*H feet/meter): 30`6*9`10*9`6/9.3*3.0*2.9
Propulsion: 1*main electric motor, 2*side thrusters, all battery storage operated, one main propeller
Speed (sub/knots): 3.0
Range (sub n/miles@knots):6 hours operational time
Diving depth (feet/meter): 6,560/2,000
2 pilot, 1 researcher
Construction: Mitsubishi Heavy Indestris Co.

 1*manipulator, 6degree of freedom

Technical specifications, Shinkai 6500:

Weight in air (lb/kg):
Payload in air (kg): 200
Dimensions (L*W*H feet/meter): 31`2*8`10*10`6/9.5*2.7*3.2
Propulsion: 1*main electric motor, thrusters?, all battery storage operated, one main propeller
Speed (sub/knots): 2.5
Range (sub n/miles@knots):9 hours operational time
Diving depth (feet/meter): 21,325/6,500
2 pilot, 1 researcher
Construction: Mitsubishi Heavy Indestris Co.

 2*manipulator, 7 degree of freedom, 2*mobile sample basket

Back to History Index

Image Country Year Description
Guyana 1995 Submersible Shinkai 6500 (Japan)
Micronesia 1997 Submersible, Shinkai 6500, exploring the bottom of the sea (souvenir sheet)
Micronesia 1998 Submersible Shinkai 2000
Japan 2004 Submersible Shinkai 6500 (Japan)
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