The Guang Hua Kou, one of the world's largest heavy lift semi-submersible ships, was launched last month at Guangdong Shipyard International. At 98,000 tons, it's one of the largest vessels of its size, anywhere in the world.
Though the ship is formally built for COSCO Heavy Transport, a state-owned civilian firm, it will likely be made available for the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) for peace and wartime operations, reports Popular Science.
A shipping line owned by the Chinese government, Cosco Heavy Transport specializes in handling heavy cargo. “The ‘Guang Hua Kou’ will be one of the largest vessels of its type when delivered end of this year,” explained the company, in a press release.
Heavy lift ships are designed to transport huge payloads everything from other ships to oil drilling platforms and construction equipment– that are too big to carry on conventional shipping vessels.
The Guang Hua Kou clocks at nearly 700 feet long and 225 feet wide, enabling it to carry ships as big as missile destroyers.
Eric Wertheim, author of the Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, told FoxNews.com that the massive ship is part of China’s efforts to establish a world class navy and maritime force that is capable of operating world wide.
"People often forget that a powerful navy is able to project power far from its home waters, and to do that forces need a logistics capability to sustain their fleet and operations," he explained, via email.