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CHINESE YARD TO LAUNCH FIRST DOMESTICALLY-BUILT ICEBREAKER

Monday, September 10, 2018 

The Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, a China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) subsidiary, is soon to launch the country’s first domestic-built icebreaking vessel, according to China Daily.

Following the launch, the ship, named Xuelong 2, will carry out mooring tests and complete fitting out, in preparation for the planned start of operations in the first half of 2019. CSSC says the new vessel will extensively boost China's polar research and expedition capabilities,.

Xuelong 2 is 122.5m, 22.3m wide, and has a displacement of 13,990 tonnes. Construction began in December 2016. With a maximum speed of 15 knots, the icebreaker will be capable of 60-day expeditions with 90 crew members and researchers. The ship will be equipped with scientific equipment enabling it to carry out advanced oceanographic survey and research into polar ice coverage, atmospheric and environmental conditions and biological surveys.

“The vessel is designed to break 1.5m thick ice at speeds of 2 to 3 knots, and can operate in temperatures as low as-30 degrees C,” said Wu Gang, chief of the CSSC Marine Design and Research Institute in Shanghai. “The vessel will enjoy good manoeuvrability and adhere to strict environmental protection standards,” he added. He said that work has already begun to design the next-generation icebreaker that will be able to break ice about 3ms thick and endure temperatures as low as-45 C.

China’s current icebreaker, Xuelong, was built in the Ukraine in 1993, originally for cargo transport, and was subsequently purchased an converted by China. Since then, says China Daily, it has carried out dozens of scientific expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

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