BEIJING has discovered a major threat to its new aircraft carrier: swarms of deadly jellyfish. Now it’s racing to develop weapons of mass destruction to beat them.
Masses of the creatures can be sucked through the warship’s water intakes necessary for cooling the vessel’s engines.
Once in the cooling vents, they get mashed into a thick, sticky soup.
This blocks the cooling system, causing the engines to overheat and bringing the warship to a halt.
It then reportedly takes days to clear the pipes.
Thus the urgent need for countermeasures.
The new jellyfish shredder consists of a net, several hundred meters long and wide, which is towed by a tugboat ahead of the carrier.
This funnels whatever falls within towards an array of steel blades.
What comes out the other side is no larger than 3cm wide.
The effect is so brutal researchers report the waters the shredder passes through become murky as the jellyfish — and other marine life — corpses begin to decompose. It takes up to a week to clear.
Bayou Renaissance Man adds:
I’m afraid the deliberate destruction of marine life to accommodate the ship is characteristic of attitudes towards nature in, not just China, but most of Asia. The prevailing attitude in many of the countries and cultures there seems to be that nature exists to serve human interests. If it doesn’t, it must be tamed, reshaped, or removed until it does.
There are some folks in my industry who concern themselves with the design of subsea equipment, basically kit that we stick on the seabed to aid in the extraction of oil and gas from the reservoir. In shallow waters, such as those in the North Sea, they have always had to design them such that trawler nets can pass over them without becoming snagged (I heard one story from decades back that a fishing vessel snagged its net on a pipeline, turned the winch on max, and promptly
sunk sank itself). In deep water, which is anything over about 600m, this hasn’t been a concern as the nets don’t go down that far. However, I heard a couple of weeks ago that a Chinese fishing ship operating offshore Angola passed its nets over some equipment a mile down.
I get the impression we’ll soon be shown that Africa’s environment, like so much else in the world, is a concern only of wealthy, middle-class white folk who are chiefly troubled by the activities of other white folk. This would explain why you don’t hear much mention of Chinese fishing boats in David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series.