China plans to construct its third icebreaker and deep-sea submersibles. Know the details of the project and China’s ambitions

China is ready to build its third icebreaker. This deep-sea submersible will make China the second nation in the world to use manned deep-sea submersibles for scientific voyages to the bottom of the Arctic sea.

Project details

Construction of the vessel is expected to be completed by 2025. The Hainan provincial government, the Institute of Deep Sea Science and Engineering and other organizations are funding this project.

How will this project help?

The submersible will offer magnificent potential to take scientific exploration to an advanced level. How will scientific exploration advance? Well, the ship will allow researchers to transport themselves to polar seabeds that are remote and deep. Manned deep-sea submersibles will thus help explore areas that were previously difficult to explore.

What do experts have to say about the icebreaker?

Director of the Marine Equipment and Operations Management Center Tang Gulashan said the new icebreaker will focus on deep-sea manned scientific research.

Furthermore, he highlighted the fact that, apart from Russia, no other country in the world has managed to deploy people, with the help of submersibles, to the polar seabed. He further highlighted the essential value of research related to the polar regions.

According to some Chinese experts, the plan is for the ship to dedicate four months a year specifically to polar voyages for scientific research purposes. The rest of the year will be dedicated to deep-sea research in regions such as the South China Sea.

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China’s ambitions

China currently operates two icebreakers. These two icebreakers are the Xuelong 1 and the Xuelong 2. These two icebreakers play an important role in replenishing supplies to the 7 north and south poles of China.

Furthermore, these icebreakers also play an important role in facilitating research on the polar ice caps, marine environment and atmospheric composition in the polar areas.

China’s attempt to create a third icebreaker tells the world that it aimed to emulate Russia’s ambition to create a fleet of next-generation icebreaker ships.

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Will the new ship help China boost its presence in the Arctic?

In 2018, in the Arctic policy document, China proclaimed itself a “near-Arctic power.” The country places immense importance on boosting energy security as it is determined to shift its economic dependence on coal.

Beijing’s policy objectives around the Arctic revolve around understanding, preservation, development and engagement in the governance of the region.

The policy arises from China’s recognition that the Arctic is of great strategic, environmental and economic importance. This same importance empowers China to exercise rights related to freedom of navigation, scientific research, cable laying, resource exploitation and fishing activities in the area.

China’s next ship, due for delivery in 2025, is expected to conduct crewed deep dives in polar areas later that year.

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