It’s hard to think of how a mere jellyfish can stand on the way of a ginormous aircraft carrier. But this sea creature is the carriers’ biggest enemy and China has deployed a weapon to defeat the creature.
The weapon, which has been named the "Jellyfish shredder," has the capability to destroy the fish by cutting them into thousands of pieces.
The South China Morning Post reported that field tests of the instrument were recently conducted. One of the researchers from the Liaoning Ocean and Fisheries Science Research Institute based in Dalian, northeast China, revealed that the creation was capable of clearing a passage in the water infested with jellyfish to give the carrier crew “peace of mind.”
Another researcher, Tan Yehui, in the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou told the publication that the sea creatures posed a serious threat to aircraft carriers because of their size.
The problem comes in when the invertebrates get sucked into a ship’s water intake mouth and clog up the cooling system. The result of this problem is overheating of the carrier’s engines, this could bring them to a halt.
Removing the sticky bodies of the jellyfish could then take hours or even days. To avoid this, the shredder becomes a large net of a length of several hundred meters and has a cluster of sharp blades in the center.
The weapon is towed by a boat which travels at high speeds and uses the force of the rapid currents the waters to suck the jellyfish into the blades.
According to a paper published in the journal Hebei Fisheries in August, the shredder cuts the jellyfish into small pieces no bigger than three cm.
This operation has its disadvantages, researchers revealed that waters become murky about a day after the operation as the fragmented corpses start to decompose and take up to weeks to clear up. The organic pollutants also peak four days after the operation.
There are several countries that have faced the same challenge, including the U.S. whose nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan USS Ronald Reagan was taken over by a swarm of jellyfish while it was docked in Brisbane, Australia.
The aircraft carrier was temporarily disabled after fish were sucked into the ship’s condensers and could only be restarted after technicians could clean up the mess they had caused.
However, there are concerns being raised by the researchers from the paper on the shredders. They’ve stated environmental concerns such as singing tentacles that could risk stinging bathers when they are washed onto beaches.