The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has recently given a green light for the construction of an advanced science research vessel for deep sea exploration.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences' (CAS) Institute of Oceanology was expected to oversee construction of the new vessel. It would have a weight of about 4,000 tons and would be the biggest of its kind designed and built by domestic scientists and manufacturers, the CAS said on its website, www.cas.ac.cn, on Monday.
The ship would be used for comprehensive and precise study of ocean hydrography, marine geology and sea environment. The equipment aboard the ship would consistently monitor real-time environmental and ecological changes in deep seas, Sun Song, head of the CAS institute, said.
The institute would cooperate with the Ministry of Education, which was responsible for research labs at prestigious universities, the State Oceanic Administration, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Land and Resources, to jointly build and use the survey ship, the website said.
The most sophisticated Chinese science vessel now in active duty, Dayang Yihao, which was remodeled from a Russian vessel in 1994, was 104.5 meters in length and 16 meters in width. It had a water discharge capacity of 5,600 tons.
The most powerful icebreaker, Xuelong with a tonnage of 21,025, had conducted 24 exclusive polar investigation missions.
Sun didn't disclose details on how much was needed to build the new ship. Technological upgrades for the Dayang Yihao cost at least 100 million yuan (13.7 million U.S. dollars) in 2002.
China currently had a fleet of more than 100 scientific survey vessels.
(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2008)