China has been using man-made islands to geo-politically position itself to seize more control over the South China seas. The secret behind that rapid expansion of man-made islands lies in a massive Dregger, called the Tian Kun Hao. The Drgger is, in essence, an island maker, and China is expected to place it with a bigger one soon.
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From Next Big Future
Given Beijing’s earlier island-building activities in the South China Sea, such a description could easily cause alarm among regional neighbors, especially as the new vessel will replace the Tian Jing Hao – which was used extensively for such purposes – as Asia’s largest.
It is expected to go into service next summer.
It has a deck the size of nine basketball courts, it is capable of dredging up to 6,000 cubic meters an hour and can dig as deep as 35 meters under the sea floor. It also has an advanced global positioning system and thanks to an automatic control system can be operated without any crew. The previous largest Chinese dregger could dig 4500 cubic meters per hour.
Tian Kun can blast through seabed rocks, suck up sand, and pump material through a pipeline over a distance of up to 15km, allowing it to dredge in one spot and refill in another without requiring landfill material to be transported from elsewhere. That gives it the unique edge to reclaim land at a faster speed and greater efficiency than conventional operations.
China has invested heavily in its dredging industry over the past decade, with an estimated 200 vessels built since 2006. It is now one of the world’s biggest dredger manufacturers and its machines have been used extensively in the country’s island-building projects.