China Tests "Magic Island Maker"
China's most advanced dredger, dubbed the “magic island maker,” commenced trials on Friday.
The 17,000-ton, 140-meter (460-foot) vessel is designed to dredge 6,000 cubic meters per hour and to dig 35 meters under the sea floor.
The Tian Kun Hao was ordered by Tianjin Dredging, part of China Communication Construction Co (CCCC), and was built by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry.
A spokesman for Tianjin Dredging said the vessel is able to dredge an area the size of a soccer field with a depth of one meter within an hour. The vessel's 6,600-kilowatt dredging equipment can mince rocks and can pump dredged material as far as 15 kilometers (nine miles) away.
The Tian Kun Hao also has an advanced global positioning system and an automatic control system that means she can be operated without crew, reports the South China Morning Post.
The vessel is expected to be delivered in June next year. She will replace the Tian Jing Hao as Asia's largest dredger. The Tian Jing Hao can excavate 4,500 cubic meters of sand per hour and reportedly spent 193 days working on five reefs in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea during 2013 and 2014.
China has built an estimated 200 dredging vessels since 2006.