Officials from the China Ship Scientific Research Center (CSSRC), a subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), told IHS Jane's that it is developing multifunctional floating docks for deployment on the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
Renderings of the docks were displayed at Shiptec China 2014.
The docks, which will be manufactured on the Chinese mainland and transported to the islands for final assembly, consist of a large rectangular platform and a bridge connecting the platform with an island.
China will first deploy the docks to the Paracel Islands for trials and testing. After this phase is complete, the docks will be deployed to the Spratly Islands, CSSRC officials said.
Two variants are under development. A base unit consists of a towed multifunctional platform and a bridge. CSSRC said the platform can support the following capabilities: docking for 1,000-tonne ships, maintenance and repair stations for fishing vessels, an electric-power plant, fresh-water storage and supply, desalination of seawater, rainwater collection, and general storage of equipment and supplies.
A second platform variant is based on a semisubmersible vessel that can move under its own power, but not over long distances. The platform can be used for light construction and maintenance of an island, such as heightening sandbanks or removing reefs. CSSRC lists its additional capabilities as temporary living quarters for construction crews, and waste water treatment. The bridge is strong enough to carry a 10-tonne truck.
A second platform variant is based on a semisubmersible vessel that can be used for light construction and maintenance of the island.