China's ocean research ship Da Yang No. 1 leaves Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province on April 2, 2005. The ship will carry out a round-the-globe ocean scientific research trip, the first for China, in 300 days.
With sounding a siren, the scientific mission ship of the Dayang Yihao (Ocean No 1) said good-bye to the crowd seen off. From the morning of April 2 the research ship would visit the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean after setting off from Qingdao , which is the first ever round-the-world ocean research mission for China.
The research ship is a 5,600-ton scientific mission ship meticulously equipped by China with powerful ocean navigation capacity and multi-disciplinary comprehensive conditions for research work. The round-the-world scientific research mission not only makes the long-term dream of Chinese ocean circles for sailing the three oceans come true, but also will write a new and brilliant page for the development history of China's ocean undertaking.
Surface drift bottles: packed with Olympic invitation letters
On April 2, 12 pupils with drift bottles in hands caught attention at the sailing ceremony held for the first ever round-the-world ocean research mission. Lu Huisheng, captain of the vessel said that the 15 drift bottles made by pupils are the "special gifts'' on board the ship. The 15 bottles will be divided into three groups with each group consisting of five bottles, throwing away to three oceans respectively. They will be put into the three oceans of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
A red Chinese knot, a small sailing ship, a color painting by Qingdao young pioneers and a invitation letter from the Sailing Ship Committee (Qingdao) of the 29th Olympic Games Organizing Committee'' will be packed into each transparent drift bottle.
The invitation letter is written as follows: "Dear friend: Congratulations if you have gotten the drift bottle as you receive an invitation letter from China's Qingdao -- the sailing ship competition city of the 29th Olympic Games. The invitation letter will be a sailing ship match ticket for you to watch the 2008 Olympic Games. Situated in the west bank of the Pacific Ocean and bordering the Yellow Sea, Qingdao is a famous tourism city in China. Herein we sincerely invite you to come to Qingdao, China for watching the sailing boat matches of the Olympic Games in 2008. Qingdao is looking forward to your coming''!
On the left top of the invitation letter there is a special marker for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and a five-ring marker. Below right there is a print of red official seal attached with many contacting ways.
What is the mission ship like?
The original name of "Ocean No 1'' was Geologist Peter Andropov. It was once a marine geology and geophysics research mission for the former Soviet Union. In July 1994 China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association bought it from the Russian Bureau for Far East Marine Geology Survey.
For better fulfilling the research mission of China's marine resources the ship was reequipped in Shanghai for nearly a year in 2001. The "modern updating project'' for the ship was completed with research mission equipment installed in December 2002.
Entering into "Ocean No 1'' one will feel entering into a labyrinth. There are more than 10 laboratories on the third and fourth floors on board the ship. The labs include gravity and ADCP, magnetism, seism, comprehensive electron, geology and biologic gene.
Li Jiabiao, research fellow and deputy director with the Second Institute of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration and chief scientist with China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association, said, "Some of our equipment are self-made while others are imported. Generally speaking, the equipment is advanced in the world''. For example, the visual deep-sea sampling system can transmit the 6,000-meter deep topographic pictures to the search ship and can take mineral and water samples at the deep-sea surface. The deep-sea rock-sampling drilling machine can drill a core measuring 60 millimeters in diameter and 500 millimeters long at 3,000-deep sea surface.
Cover a distance of 60,000 kilometers, aiming at four major results
The mission is planned to last for 300 days on sea, with the ship returning to Qingdao next January. Excluding the back and forth working distance on the sea the single navigation distance on the Pacific Ocean reaches 10,555 nautical miles or 19,526 kilometers. As a result the total mileage is about 60,000 kilometers.
According to the introduction by a responsible person with China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association the first ever round-the-world mission is expected to achieve four achievements.
First, obtain the samples of sulfides, rocks and sediments near the hot liquid mouths at the target areas of the three oceans as well as biologic and other straight samples so as to offer a basis for further indoor researches.
Second, make an initial survey on the resources distribution of hot liquid sulfides in some sea floor areas in order to accumulate experiences and develop a group of ocean professionals for future round-the-world scientific research missions and in-depth surveys and researches on the hot liquid sulfides at sea floors.
Third, push forward the development of ocean scientific researches: obtain the relevant first-hand data including the mineral components, fluid chemical properties and living formation at the hot-fluid jet mouths through multi-disciplinary approaches involving geology, chemistry and biology in order to better understand the geologic formation of hot fluid as well as the functional mechanism among hot liquid spout minerals, chemistry and living organisms.
Fourth, bring about the development of the related ocean technological equipment.
Lu Huisheng, captain of the vessel, is 38 years old this year. He has been captain for three years. When answering the question on what is the biggest problem he is facing while sailing, he said his biggest challenge would be safety. He said with long-term experiences, he has mastered a set of safety measures. However, there is also need for especial care.
Besides the work, "Ocean No 1'' has offered all of us with sound technological guarantee. The ship has been equipped with satellite telecommunications facilities for wireless surfing online and there is no problem for online surfing. The crew and scientific personnel can contact with their family members by sending emails in order to reduce loneliness.
Crew rotation on the way
The mission is planned to last for 300 days, crossing three oceans ... people cannot help asking: how can the survey personnel and crew work in all the 300 days in such a long journey?
"Quite a part of the personnel will only work for a certain navigation task'' said Zhou Ning, department director with the China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association. The navigation will be divided into six working areas with five stopovers.
"We will take a rest for about four days for each stopover for supplying fuels, drinking water and vegetable'', said Zhou. Part of the survey personnel and crew will be rotated when making stopovers. "There are 30 ordinary seamen on board the ship and there are about 10 crew at home waiting for rotation order''. Chief scientists and captains will also be relieved on the way.
(People's Daily April 5, 2005)