Friday 14 May 2010

FLIP: a unique marine research ship

is a ship that can operate in a horizontal or vertical position. FLIP (FLoating Instrument Platform) is a 355 feet long open ocean research ship designed to partially flood and pitch backward 90 degrees, resulting in only the front 55 feet of the vessel pointing up out of the water.

The novel vessel was invented more than 40 years ago by two Scripps scientists, Drs. Fred Fisher and Fred Spies, who needed a more quiet, stable place than a research ship to study how sound waves behave under water.

Apart from FLIP, all other ships bob up and down and roll side to side. Even when their engines are turned off, a ship's experimental equipment makes noise as it is heaved up and down in the water. When FLIP is in its vertical position it is both extremely stable and quiet.

Researchers study with the assistance of FLIP; The way water circulates, how storm waves are formed, how seismic waves move, how heat is exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere, and the sound made underwater by marine animals.

Since its inception, without fail, FLIP  has been used in over 300 operations worldwide, and it is currently owned by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

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