China Commissions First Heavy-Lift Semi-Submersible Zhen Hua 33

By | Mar 21, 2017 08:53 AM EDT
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The sun shines on the pipelay vessel Acergy Piper on September 21, 2006 in Bergen, Norway. The Acergy Piper is one of the world's most efficient semi-submersible pipelay barges.(Photo : Getty Images)

China has commissioned its first heavy-lift semi-submersible, named the Zhen Hua 33, to be used both for military and civilian platform.

The vessel, dubbed as "the largest civilian ship that meets [China's] defense requirements, could allegedly lift ships weighing up to 10,000 tons; activate emergency repairs and recoveries; and transport ships, outsize cargo, and other floating platform. Moreover, it is equipped with four landing sports for cargo deck and a flight deck for helicopter operations to conduct a joint force "maritime military relay support."

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The 50,000-ton vessel entered into service on March 14 in Qidong, Jiangsu Province. It was built by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries' Qidong Marine Engineering shipyard and the month of the Yangtze River. The Zhen Hua 33 was initially launched last June and completed its sea trials last month.

The Zhen Hua 33 is estimated to have a length of 227 meters, a beam of 43 meters, and a normal draught at 10 meters, which reaches to up to 27 meters when semi-submerged. The multipurpose ship has four main generators powered by diesel engines, with electric-motored propulsion to drive the ship at 14 kt with a range of 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 kilometers).

Earlier this month, China also officially put into service the Bluewhale I, the world's largest and deepest-operating offshore oil exploration platform. Also a semi-submersible drilling platform, the vessel is specifically designed for the South China Sea as it could penetrate the seabed at 3,658 meters deep and bore a further 15,240 meters into the earth's crust. The disputed waterway has been known for its abundant reserves of untapped oil buried more than 3,000 meters below sea level.

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