|A diver enters the diving bell to conduct 300-meter saturation dive under the South China Sea, Jan. 9, 2014. China succeeded in its first 300-meter saturation dive in the morning on Jan. 12 as three divers returned safe and sound from deep water to the living chamber on their ship. The diving bell actually reached a depth of 313.5 meters under the South China Sea. Saturation diving technology enables human beings to withstand high water pressure by saturating human tissue with inert gas. (Xinhua)
SHENZHEN, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China succeeded in its first 300-meter saturation dive on Sunday morning as three divers returned safe and sound from deep water to the living chamber on their ship.
The diving bell actually reached a depth of 313.5 meters under the South China Sea, according to Guo Jie, on-site chief director of the experiment.
The three divers, Hu Jian, Guan Meng and Dong Meng, returned to the deck of the ship at 5:09 a.m. on Sunday.
Saturation diving technology enables human beings to withstand high water pressure by saturating human tissue with inert gas, Guo explained.
Three other Chinese divers, Li Hongjian, Luo Xiaoming and Tan Hui, began another saturation dive at 8 a.m. on Sunday and returned to the living chamber at around 2 p.m. The divers will stay there until Jan. 24 to let the inert gas in their tissue fluid return to normal pressure, said Shen Hao, director of the Shanghai rescue and salvage center.
China is now developing saturation diving technology that would work at a depth of 500 meters under the sea, said Wang Zhenliang, director of the China Rescue and Salvage Center of the Ministry of Transport.
To date, eight countries, including Britain, the United States, Switzerland, Norway, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, have succeeded in 400-meter saturation dives, according to Wang.
Saturation diving was developed to allow divers to stay under water for a longer time and at a deeper sea level than with conventional techniques.
It is commonly used in deep sea exploration, in rescue operations at sea and in engineering construction at the bottom of the sea.
China had previously only conducted such experiments in laboratories. Chinese divers once reached 493 meters in a simulation, according to lab records.
China has made impressive achievements in marine research in recent years. In 2012, Jiaolong, the country's most advanced manned submersible, achieved a record dive depth of more than 7,000 meters.
Guo Jie told Xinhua that a locally developed saturation dive system took divers to 103.5 meters under the South China Sea on a rescue and salvage mission in November 2006.
Construction of the country's 300-meter saturation dive system began in November 2007, when the Shanghai Salvage Bureau under the Ministry of Transport signed a construction contract with Divex Ltd., a diving and subsea equipment producer based in Scotland. The system was delivered two years later.
"Today's success indicates that China's saturation diving development have outpaced India," said Guo.
China needs continued efforts to keep up with other countries. In the Asian-Pacific region, Japan has the capability to reach a depth of 450 meters and it has regular practices on open seas every year.
The United States and France are in a globally leading position in saturation diving technology, according to Guo.
However, industry insiders expect China to become the world's largest diving market in the coming years as the sector has reached saturation point in America and Europe.
China starts first saturation diving experiment
BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday started its first saturation diving experiment at sea, aiming to reach 300 meters under water from the sea surface near Shenzhen, according to the Shanghai Salvage Company under the Ministry of Transport.
At 1 p.m. Beijing time, six divers of the company began to pressurize a compression chamber in preparation for the dive, marking the beginning of the experiment. Full story
China's first deep-water saturation diving boat completed
BEIJING, Aug. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- China’s first 300-meter depth saturation diving boat has been completed in Qingdao in East China’s Shandong province.
The "Shen Qian Hao" diving boat is China’s first deep-depth saturation diving vessel. Saturation diving is a diving technique that allows divers to work at great depths for long periods of time by reducing the risk of decompression sickness. Full story