QINGDAO — China’s deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong has successfully docked at its new home port in Qingdao, Shandong province, after a 118-day expedition in the Indian Ocean.
During the latest mission, Jiaolong successfully carried out 13 dives to observe different hydrothermal areas, the characteristics of hydrothermal fluids and deep-sea biodiversity, gathering a huge amount of data and more than 700 samples.
Carried by its support ship, “Xiangyanghong 09”, the sub discovered several new hydrothermal vents - deep-sea fissures which emit hot water. Its findings could help research into resources and environments of seafloor sulfide deposits that contain various metals.
Named after a mythical dragon, Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Pacific’s Mariana Trench in June 2012.
Following the mission, it was stationed at a new port belonging to the National Deep Sea Center, which will be in charge of its future operations.
The center began construction in 2013. It covers about 26 hectares of land and 67 hectares of sea in Jimo City, with an investment of 500 million yuan ($812,000) in the first phase.
All staff and facilities of the center will move into the center’s primary building in September or October, said Yu Hongjun, director of the center.
The center has areas for equipment maintenance, oceanaut training, scientific research and experiments to serve deep sea research and survey missions.
Previously, Jiaolong returned to a port in eastern China’s Jiangsu province where its developer is based.
Jiaolong will embark on a new expedition to the northwest Pacific between June and August.
China started the construction of its second manned sub which can reach a depth of 4,500 meters in 2013 for more deep sea research.