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China on 18 July 2020 launched the Shiyan-6, its first modern scientific research vessel focusing on geophysical exploration and seismic acquisition and processing, in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province. The launch is believed to be an important step in boosting the country's marine exploration capability in the South China Sea and further safeguarding its maritime sovereignty and interests. With a total investment of 517.5 million yuan ($74 million), the vessel has a length of 90.6 meters, a width of 17.0 meters, a depth of 8.0 meters, and a gross tonnage of 3,990, able to accommodate 60 crew members. Its maximum speed is 16.5 knots, with an endurance of 12,000 nautical miles, and a self-sustaining capacity of 60 days.

Able to carry out investigations in geophysics, ocean physics, sea-air interaction, marine chemistry and other disciplines, the vessel is also capable of surveying and sampling topography, landforms, currents, and biomes in extreme environments such as deep trenches. Samples that it collects in the ocean can be quickly processed and analyzed on site in vesselboard laboratories, and data can be transmitted synchronously to land-based laboratories, allowing it to serve as an offshore mobile laboratory.

The vessel is expected to enter service in 2021. The launch of this national marine research vessel greatly improves China's ocean exploration and data acquisition ability, which is an important step for the development and utilization of marine space resources, oil and gas minerals and biological genetic resources, said Long Lijuan, deputy director of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology (SCSIO), Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported Science and Technology Daily. "It can help safeguard China's state sovereignty and also its maritime rights and interests, increasing the country's building of maritime power," Long said.

"Experiment 6" has a total investment of 517.5 million yuan, a total designed tonnage of 3990, a total length of 90.6 meters, a width of 17.0 meters, a depth of 8.0 meters, a maximum speed of 16.5 knots, an endurance of 12,000 nautical miles, a capacity of 60 people, and a self-sustaining capacity of 60 days. "Experiment 6" is a special purpose ship that adopts the most advanced international design concepts and has outstanding scientific research capabilities. Its detection methods have reached the international advanced level.

Zhang Cai, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, former director of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, and director of the Southern Ocean Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou), said that "Experiment 6" fills the gap in Chinas current medium-sized geophysical comprehensive scientific research vessel, giving full play to professional investigations. The function of the ship and the comprehensive scientific research ship has greatly improved the research level of the deep structure of the earth and the extreme environment of the deep ocean.

China has more than 60 oceanographic research vessels and other professional investigation vessels in service, of which 37 have joined the national oceanographic survey fleet. However, these vessels are more focused on speed, and often neglect the disturbance of air bubbles on acoustic equipment on the bottom of the vessel, which will cause the equipment to fail in more extreme sea conditions, according to Cai Xiaoyang, chief shipbuilding engineer at SCSIO.

The Shiyan-6 has solved the contradiction between speed and anti-bubble interference by adopting a linear model with small concave noses on the body to ensure an optimal path of bubble leakage and minimize the impact on acoustic equipment at the bottom, said Cai. The launch of the vessel does not mean construction work has been completed, he noted. "A months-long voyage to verify the reliability of the vessel's scientific investigation system still needs to be carried out before it is put into use to perform actual tasks," he said.

This is the first modern scientific research ship in China that focuses on geophysical exploration, seismic acquisition and processing. It is the 13th Five-Year science and education infrastructure construction project undertaken by the South China Sea Institute. In short, the "Experiment 6" is equipped with a variety of "stunts", which not only has the ability to conduct professional geophysical investigations, but also can meet the needs of comprehensive investigations such as physical ocean, air-sea interaction, and marine chemistry.

Not only that, it also has the ability to survey and sample topography, landforms, currents, and biomes in extreme environments such as deep sea trenches. It is tireless, good at global navigation and all-weather observation, and its technical level and inspection ability have reached the international advanced level.

"Earthquake acquisition is that the scientific research ship puts the seabed seismograph array at the bottom of the target sea area, drags and drops the air gun source and multiple cables at the stern, and launches the high-pressure air cannon into the sea by way of towing through the scientific research ship, using the artificial source seismic method Manufacture of seismic sound waves, recovery and analysis of seismic data collected by sea-seismic seismographs and multi-cables. The data obtained by the analysis can explain the geological structure of the sea area, including magmatic activity, crustal structure, plate cracking, etc."

For a long time, the marine scientific research ship has been one of the important means for humans to recognize the ocean. At present, there are more than 60 marine comprehensive scientific research ships and professional survey ships in service in China, of which 37 have joined the national marine survey fleet, far less than developed countries such as the United States, Russia, and Japan, which cannot meet the current marine cause of China. The need for rapid development. In particular, the low number of scientific research vessels, backward detection methods and low detection capabilities have greatly restricted the development of China's marine science and become the main reason for the long-term backwardness of China's marine science.

In order to better adapt to the rapid development of my country's marine science and further promote the implementation of the strategy of strengthening the ocean, my country has accelerated the pace of scientific research ship construction in recent years. In May 2018, the "Experiment 6" project passed the review of the National Development and Reform Commission; in September of the same year, the South China Sea Institute and China Shipbuilding Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. signed a construction contract, and construction began in November of the same year.

"Experiment 6" innovatively adopted the integrated design technology of ship shape to control bubble interference, and successfully resolved the contradiction between rapidity and anti-bubble interference. "The previous scientific research ship paid more attention to rapidity, but often ignored the impact of the air bubble discharge on the bottom acoustic equipment. As a result, under slightly larger sea conditions, the bottom acoustic equipment would become unusable due to the influence of air bubbles. The linear shape, by using a concave small bulb, only sacrificing less resistance, can ensure the best path for the bubble to drain, and the impact on the bottom acoustic equipment can be minimized." Cai Xiaoyang said.

"Experiment 6" is the first domestic scientific research ship that uses the latest and most advanced hybrid cooling D-type pod propulsion technology in the world, and solves the effect of underwater noise on detection accuracy. The scientific research ship generally uses a large amount of acoustic equipment to detect the water body and the bottom of the seabed. These acoustic equipment are very sensitive to underwater background noise, especially the noise sources and bubbles in the water. Minimizing or eliminating these noises can greatly improve the detection accuracy.

"Experiment 6" is actually an offshore mobile laboratory. The samples collected on the ocean can be processed and analyzed in time in the shipboard laboratory, and the data can be synchronized and transmitted to the land-based laboratory.

When standing in the cab, the huge working deck comes into view. "The deck area is about 600m, reaching a higher level of 4000-ton scientific research ships." Cai Xiaoyang introduced that the current comprehensive scientific research ships generally adopt a modular design concept. Each voyage may carry different scientific research instruments and a large deck area. It shows that there are many types of scientific research equipment that can be carried on a single voyage, many tasks can be completed, and the ability is strong.

Zhan Wenhuan, Secretary of the Party Committee and Deputy Director of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanography, said that as an important open and shared platform on the sea, "Experiment 6" will become an advanced technology test platform for China's new type of maritime mobile laboratory and detection equipment, and enhance China's ocean detection capabilities and data. For example, continuous detection of fixed-point and navigable marine environmental parameters, continuous continuous detection of sea surface meteorology, detection of seabed topography and bottom quality sampling, etc. More importantly, it is capable of data system integration, on-site verification, and data transmission and processing with land-based laboratories, which can greatly meet the needs of basic scientific investigations in the atmosphere, sea, water, seabed, and deep-sea extreme environments in the future.

The launching of the ship does not mean the completion of the construction work. After the launch of "Experiment 6", ship outfitting, interior decoration, equipment installation, and mooring tests will continue. "The sea trial is the most critical. It mainly tests whether the ships construction quality passes the customs, whether the navigation performance meets the requirements, and whether the various subsystems are installed accurately and run smoothly according to regulations." Cai Xiaoyang said, "Only the sea trial meets the design requirements and runs smoothly. The ship can be delivered only after the system and equipment are intact. After that, the reliability verification voyage of the scientific research system will be carried out for several months, and the formal scientific research task can be carried out after confirmation." According to the construction plan, "Experiment 6" was expected to enter service in 2021.

Long Lijuan, deputy director of the South China Sea Institute of Oceanography, said that the use of this national marine scientific research instrument will improve China's ocean exploration capabilities and data sample acquisition capabilities, develop and utilize marine space resources, oil and gas minerals, and biological genetic resources, and safeguard national sovereignty. Together with maritime rights and interests, safeguarding the sustainable economic and social development of China and accelerating the building of a maritime power has a very important role in promoting and promoting.

Shiyan 6 Shiyan 6 Shiyan 6

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:08:19 ZULU