The oldest drillship in the history of merchant vessels, CUSS I was built for the Los Angeles-based telecommunications giant Global Marine Systems. Her design was provided by engineer Robert Bauer, who went on to become the first president of the company.
CUSS was a syndicate of companies – Continental Oil, Union Oil, Superior Oil and Shell Oil and CUSS I was the cradle used by the conglomeration to test offshore oil drilling. CUSS I is one of the world’s first man made objects that could drill up to 3,600 meters under water and stay within a 180 meters radius at the same time.
When she was employed in 1961 for the phase one of Project Mohole (that aimed at drilling through the crust of the Earth) the new technology of dynamic positioning allowed CUSS I to expand her operational range. She was 260 feet long and weighed 3,000 gross tons and is known for the distinctive equipments she contained including state-of-the-art vertical guides and automatic pipe-handling system.