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30 April 2015

Article from ShipPax CFI by Philippe Holthof

SAN SHA 1 HAO was recently introduced on the lifeline services from Wenchang City, Hainan to Sansha City, China’s newest and southernmost city located 162 nautical miles southeast of Hainan island.

Built in China with locally sourced equipment, SAN SHA 1 HAO boasts a European flair though since she was designed by Danish KNUD E. HANSEN.

Counting about 260 islands, reefs, beaches and atolls, Sansha City covers the disputed Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha island chains in the South China Sea. The small and sparsely populated islands don’t produce anything and fully rely on supplies from the mainland.

Meat, vegetables and fruit, but also potable water and fuel all have to be imported. The islands are  of strategic importance, but tourism has slowly but surely been gathering pace during the last couple of years. With QIONG SHA 3 HAO, the mainstay that served the scattered islands, getting too small, a competition between Chinese yards to build a replacement ferry with a higher intake and improved onboard standards was launched by the Sansha local government.

Despite their lack of experience, Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry (the former Bohai Shipyard)  wanted to stand out and therefore teamed up with CS Marine of Shanghai who, in their turn, joined forces with KNUD E. HANSEN. Actually, CS Marine contacted KNUD E. HANSEN at the eleventh hour in December 2012 and there were only ten days left for the Danish naval architects to develop the concept and tender design. Despite the tight timeframe, Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry landed the contract in early 2013 mainly on the basis of KNUD E. HANSEN’s innovative concept design. Whereas CS Marine was responsible for the detailed design, the scope of work carried out by KNUD E. HANSEN also included the basic design, hull lines, CFD analysis, stability calculations and steel structural design. Tank tests were successfully performed in Shanghai and SAN SHA 1 HAO can operate in winds of up to eight Beaufort which is quite an improvement over the smaller QIONG SHA 3 HAO whose sailings had to be cancelled regularly, leading to a shortage of water and food on the islands. Specifically built for Chinese domestic service, SAN SHA 1 HAO did not have to be SOLAS compliant. Even so, the ship is largely SO LAS proof and, of course, fully complies with Chinese Classification Society (CCS) and Chinese flag state rules. The 12,580 GT cruise-ferry is remarkable in many ways. In addition to being the first ferry built by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, all the equipment has been domestically produced and sourced which somehow illustrates that the Chinese shipbuilding cluster is picking up quickly. Possibly, this could even signal the start of a local supply chain for the construction of passenger vessels.

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