A recent shipwreck off the Shanghai coast has triggered discussions on the research and application of intelligent ship operation systems.
Changping, a cargo ship loaded with 5,000 metric tons of steel, collided with Xinwang 138, another cargo ship, after unmooring in Wusongkou at midnight on Jan 2.
The collision carved a big hole in the starboard side of the stern and the entire ship sank into the sea in only about five minutes, said Changping's first mate, one of the survivors.
As of Jan 6, three crew members had been rescued, two bodies had been retrieved and eight remained missing, according to Shanghai's maritime search and rescue center.
Experts said the likelihood of the tragedy would have been significantly reduced if Changping had been equipped with a more intelligent operation and maintenance system.
"Many of China's ports are becoming more crowded and the rate of ship collisions is higher due to the congestion," said Wang Cailian, a researcher from a Shanghai-based ship research institute of China State Shipbuilding Corp. "Modern and smart operation systems will enable the crew to discover malfunctions earlier and help decrease the likelihood of shipwrecks and collisions, by constantly monitoring the ship structure and equipment performance."
Among other functions, the system can measure the amount of water flowing into the ship and give timely warnings, as well as providing the best remedies and evacuation plans, Wang said.
Along with the rapid development of big data and artificial intelligence, vessels increasing their intelligent capabilities is becoming an inevitable trend.
China launched its first self-developed smart ship at Marintec China 2017, an influential large-scale maritime exhibition. It is the world's first seafaring vehicle awarded the "cyber-safe", "cyber-perform" and "cyber-maintain" ship descriptive notes by Lloyd's Register, a leading maritime technical and business services organization and a maritime classification society.
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