VESSEL REVIEW | Bei Diao 996 – New Chinese-built deep-sea research and testing support ship

VESSEL REVIEW | Bei Diao 996 – New Chinese-built deep-sea research and testing support ship

Photo: Jessn Ocean Equipment

The Bohai Shipyard Group of China has handed over a new deep-sea research vessel to the Chinese government.

Designed by China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) through its subsidiaries, the CCS-classed Bei Diao 996 (“North Transfer 996”) is notable for being one of the largest small waterplane area twin-hull (SWATH) research vessels to be built in China. The all-steel vessel has an LOA of 99.8 metres, a beam of 32 metres, a draught of 7.5 metres, a displacement of 6,700 tonnes, and a deadweight of 1,231 tonnes.

Although built as a research vessel, Bei Diao 996 will be used primarily for the testing of various equipment such as underwater acoustic sensors and submarine data cables. The SWATH design and the significant tonnage contribute significantly to the performance of this role by enabling the vessel to withstand strong wind and wave conditions in its main area of operations in the South China Sea. During a recent series of sea trials, it was confirmed that the pitching and rolling of the hull did not exceed two degrees, thus ensuring the safe deployment of underwater research equipment even under otherwise challenging conditions.

Photo: Jessn Ocean Equipment

A DC integrated electric propulsion system drives a large, seven-bladed propeller to enable the vessel to sail at a maximum speed of just over 15 knots and a cruising speed of 10 knots. This allows the vessel to navigate in unlimited navigation areas except for the poles. A dynamic positioning system is also fitted.

The deck equipment includes telescopic knuckle boom cranes on the fore and aft decks, two A-frames, and winches, all supplied by Jessn Ocean Equipment.

There is also a dedicated platform for the launch and recovery of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The vessel is versatile enough to undertake other types of research missions as well as environmental surveys, thanks to the incorporation of laboratories and related facilities. The crew spaces also include a large mess.

Bei Diao 996 is homeported at Nanshan in Hainan province. The selection of Nanshan as the vessel’s homeport was deliberate due to its proximity to the Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City, a hub of marine scientific research in southern China.

Photo: China Classification Society

Click here for more news stories, features, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on the research and training sector.

Bei Diao 996
Type of vessel:Research and testing vessel
Classification:China Classification Society
Port of registry:Nanshan, China
Owner:Chinese Government
Designer:China State Shipbuilding Corporation
Builder:Bohai Shipyard Group, China
Hull construction material:Steel
Superstructure construction material:Steel
Deck construction material:Steel
Length overall:99.8 metres
Beam:32 metres
Draught:7.5 metres
Displacement:6,700 tonnes
Deadweight tonnage:1,231
Maximum speed:15 knots
Cruising speed:10 knots
Winches:Jessn Ocean Equipment
Cranes:2 x Jessn Ocean Equipment
Other deck equipment:2 x Jessn Ocean Equipment A-frames
Operational area:South China Sea

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