Deep-water drilling ship starts sea trial |
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Deep-water drilling ship starts sea trial

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou China Daily Updated: 2023-12-19
A ceremony celebrates the first sea trial of ultradeep-water drilling ship Meng Xiang at Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding yard in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Monday. QIU HAIJIE/FOR CHINA DAILY

Vessel to help explore marine energy resources, advance technology

China's first ultradeep-water research drilling vessel started its trial voyage on Monday, marking a crucial step in the nation's construction of deep-sea exploration capabilities and the research and development of marine technology.

Li Jinfa, director of the China Geological Survey, said at the trial voyage ceremony in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, that the equipment and operational capabilities of the vessel, Meng Xiang, have reached the top international level.

"Since work started on the vessel on Nov 30, 2021, more than 150 companies and institutes have participated in the construction," he said.

Li said relevant departments would continue to adhere to the work philosophy of goal orientation, systematic planning, open cooperation and industrial integration to ensure the timely and high-quality completion of the vessel's construction in the months to come.

"It aims to help lay the foundation for the exploration and exploitation of marine energy resources, the construction of a world-class deep-sea technology innovation center and the leapfrog development of key deep-sea technology equipment," he said.

The vessel is a major project led by the China Geological Survey of the Ministry of Natural Resources and designed by China State Shipbuilding Corp. It is being built by Huangpu Wenchong Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of CSSC.

The 33,000-metric-ton vessel is 179.8 meters long and 32.8 meters wide, with a range of 15,000 nautical miles (27,780 kilometers), and is capable of withstanding a super typhoon that has a wind speed of 52 meters per second.

The vessel, which can drill up to 11,000 meters below sea level, has two major operating modes for oil and gas drilling and ocean scientific drilling.

The deep-water riserless mud circulation system was developed by China, achieving a breakthrough in this field.

The vessel is equipped with the world's largest shipborne laboratory, with a floor space of over 3,000 square meters.

It is also equipped with world-class magnetic shielding and ultraclean experimental rooms and the world's first shipborne rock core automatic transmission and storage system, which can meet the requirements of interdisciplinary research in the marine field.

Meanwhile, the vessel has the world's largest and most advanced comprehensive information system for scientific research vessels, which can fully monitor drilling and mining operations and undertake intelligent collaboration on scientific experiments through 20,000 monitoring points on the vessel.

Zhang Shaokang, vice-governor of Guangdong, said the vessel is a crucial tool for deep-sea exploration and an important engine for building a global hub for marine technology and industrial innovation.

Guangdong will continue to promote innovation in marine science and technology to ensure high-quality achievement of construction goals, he said.

Sheng Jigang, deputy general manager of CSSC, said construction of the vessel is a concrete action to serve the nation and CSSC would leverage its technological and industrial chain advantages to provide more powerful guarantees for development of the country's shipbuilding industry.