Mooring trials are needed to test the carrier, including its power system, communications and radar. During the mooring tests, the ship will stay in the port.
Mooring trials are needed to test the carrier, including its power system, communications and radar. During the mooring tests, the ship will stay in the port. AAP

Can a jellyfish defeat China’s aircraft carrier?

HOW could a mere jellyfish disable China's largest and most fearsome warship?

By being turned into sticky mush.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post reports Beijing is urgently developing a new weapon to counter the tentacled threat.

A 'jellyfish shredder' is among the techniques already been tested.

It's intended to sweep a path through coastal waterways infested by swarms of the toxic critters, allowing the aircraft carrier Liaoning to pass in peace.

The news service reports South China Sea Institute of Oceanology researcher Tan Yehui as saying the jellyfish were a real and present danger.

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.

The Post also reports further fallout from the weapon of mass destruction.

Severed tentacles can apparently wash up on to popular beaches.

Too small to notice, they're stinging unsuspecting bathers.

Their venom - still active - causes intense pain and inflammation. This can lead to death.

Another option is pumping the waters along the carrier's projected path full of bubbles.

These collect within the jellyfish, lifting them to the surface.

Here they can be sprayed with chemicals.

But Tan says jellyfish genocide does not appear to be a viable answer.

Too many survive.

"The outbreak often occurs in waters with the right temperature and salinity. These elements should be monitored, predicted and avoided by naval operations," Tan said.

The jellyfish swarms are a sign China's waterways are becoming increasingly unhealthy.

The fish that usually eat juvenile jellyfish are themselves ending up on dinnerplates.

And the mass environmental upheaval caused by China's enormous island reclamation project - which has destroyed many South China Sea estuaries in order to create military outposts - is only beginning to be understood.



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