The Flip Ship (Floating Instrument Platform) is a unique Research Ship created by the US Navy in collaboration with the Marine Physical Laboratory in the year 1962. It is designed like a spoon, stands at 355 ft and is unique in the sense that it has the flexibility to stand vertically from a routine ship’s position of being horizontal.
Description and Purpose
The entire shift of the ship from its horizontal to vertical position takes around 28 minutes and it a sight worth beholding. By allowing water to seep into its ballast tanks, 300m of the ship is submersed in the water thus allowing the Flip Ship to carry out its purpose of being an accurate Research Ship. The main reason why this Research Ship is designed in this manner is because, generally the horizontal position of the ship does not allow accurate readings of waves and other oceanic data relevant because of the movement that a ship’s natural shape reduces the potency of the measuring devices.
Therefore the Flip Ship was created which could solve the problem of the potency of the measuring devices by providing the flexibility to the Research Ship to stand vertical and independent of waves in the water and carry on its research accordingly. The ship can face waves up to 80 ft and is maneuverable in both shallow as well as deep water.
Also, since the Flip Ship’s main purpose is to aid and play a pivotal role in researching the oceanic waters, it does not have any engines and in order to maneuver it into the waters, tows are used to carry out the operation. The maximum speed of the ship when towed into the waters is around 7-10 knots and once it is vertical in the waters, it does not require any additional support to keep it vertically intact.
Benefits of Flip Ship
The Flip Ship is used to research about wave length, density and temperature of the water, acoustics of the water and other relevant meteorological data that could prove helpful to study marine flora and fauna. Another unique aspect of the Flip Ship is that only one such research ship has been designed and therefore the importance of the Flip Ship increases by a considerable amount.
Which is why, in order to keep abreast of the many modern developments in technology, the Flip Ship underwent a renovation in the year 1995 and has able to predict many important points and changes that happen to the ocean and the marine life on a constant basis. The research instruments are designed sideways in such a way that when the ship turns from the horizontal to the vertical position, the instruments are switched into a usable position automatically.
Design of the Flip Ship
The interior and the decks of the crew of the Flip Ship are also designed keeping in mind the horizontal-to-vertical shift of the ship. There are two doors to every room on the ship to facilitate entrance when the ship is horizontal and when the ship is vertical.
Bed-bunks, gas-stoves and toilets are conceived in such a way that they swivel and can be used appropriately, in spite of the ship’s position.
In order to maneuver the ship back to the horizontal resting position, air is compressed in order to release the water in the ballast tanks and the ship is turned into its resting position. The Research Ship is not only innovative in its design but is also ingenious in its operations. Over the course of the four decades that the ship has been created, it has helped the US Navy to carry out its research operations with huge and credible success.
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Reference: Ship-Technology, Core77