DORD conducted commissioned surveys for 22 years from 1975 to 1996 as well as independent surveys (1983-1996) for polymetallic nodules in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCZ) after it started survey cruise in 1975, as Deep Ocean Minerals Association (DOMA), a former DORD. Wide-area surveys were conducted during a period of 1975 - 1985 to select potential sites, followed by detailed surveys within the license areas, SA24, SA32, and BA201, to assess the potential of the areas and to establish survey techniques during a period of 1987 - 1996.
DORD focused on analytical work on the data collected so far and restarted survey cruise in 2011. A total of 10 survey cruises were conducted within the exploration license area within the CCZ during 2011 and 2017, of which five cruises were for resource surveys and environmental baseline studies, three for detailed bathymetric surveys by autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), and two for installation and recovery of mooring systems and environmental baseline studies. Research survey vessels used for those surveys include Hakureimaru No.2, Ka'imikai-O-Kanaloa (KOK), and Kilo Moana.