By Jeffrey P. Lin and P.W. Singer
To accompany its new aircraft carriers and destroyers, China is acquiring a fleet of heavy support ships that will enable naval and amphibious assault operations around the world. Rounding out China’s heavy sea lift operation is the Guang Hua Kou, which was launched at the Guangdong Shipyard International (also builder to many other Chinese naval supply and logistic ships) on April 28, 2016. Built for COSCO Heavy Transport, a state-owned shipping line, the 98,000 ton Guang Hua Kou is one of the largest heavy lift semi-submersible ships in the world. While owned by a state-owned civilian company, the Guang Hua Kou is almost certainly available to the PLAN for peacetime and wartime usage.
The Guang Hua Kou’s deck area measures 211.2 meters by 68 meters. It can also submerge its deck to 16 meters underwater. This enormous logistic capability will allow China to transport maritime infrastructure to anywhere in the world, and deploy items like floating docks and offshore platforms by flooding its ballast tanks to lower its deck area underwater. It could be used for humanitarian response, deep sea drilling and mining, or building floating offshore military bases for global expeditionary campaigns. Read more