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China starts construction of 1st polar research icebreaker

Updated: Dec 21,2016 7:53 AM     Xinhua

The construction commencement ceremony of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker is held in Shanghai, east China, Dec 20, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]

SHANGHAI — Construction of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker began on Dec 20 in Shanghai, giving a boost to the nation’s polar expedition efforts, according to the Polar Research Institute of China.

Photo shows a rendering of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker. Construction of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker began on Dec 20 in Shanghai.[Photo/Xinhua]

The vessel is scheduled to be completed in 2019, when it is expected to team-up with research vessel and icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon).

Xuelong is currently China’s only icebreaker carrying out polar research expeditions.

Yang Huigen, head of the institute, said the move would improve the nation’s capabilities in supporting polar expeditions and surveying the polar marine environment.

On completion, the new vessel alongside veteran Xuelong will give China’s polar research more diversified services.

Photo shows a rendering of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker. Construction of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker began on Dec 20 in Shanghai.[Photo/Xinhua]

The new vessel will be 122.5 meters long and 22.3 meters wide, with a displacement of 13,990 tonnes and a navigation capability of 20,000 nautical miles. It is being built by Jiangnan Shipyard (Group).

It will be able to break through ice 1.5 meters thick at a maximum speed of 3 knots, according to the institute, which said the vessel can accommodate up to 90 people.

Yang said the vessel will be able to open ice on both its bow and stern, and is capable of sailing unrestricted in global navigating waters.

The first piece of steel of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker is being cut in Shanghai, east China, Dec 20, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

Equipped with internationally advanced marine survey and observation devices, the new vessel will be an important platform for the nation to conduct polar research on marine environments and resources, the institute said.

Scientists will be able to carry out comprehensive surveys and observation of the polar marine environment, taking samples while observing the marine environment related to climate change, as well as conduct surveys on oil, gas and living resources in iced areas and polar regions.

Photo shows a rendering of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker. Construction of China’s first domestic-built polar research vessel and icebreaker began on Dec 20 in Shanghai.[Photo/Xinhua]

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