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Icebreaker Xuelong 2 joins service on China national maritime day

Global Times

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/11 16:35:32

China's first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker, Xuelong 2, was delivered to the China polar research institute in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon, China National Maritime Day, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The delivery in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon further enhances the country's polar research capability.

Xuelong 2, with a displacement of 13,996 tons, is 122.5 meters long and 22.32 meters wide. Finnish engineering company Aker Artic and the 708th Research Institute of the China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) designed the vessel.

The ship was built by the corporation's Jiangnan Shipyard Group, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by the Ministry of Natural Resources on Thursday.

The icebreaker can sail at 12-15 knots, or about 22-28 kilometers per hour, in open water, and has a range of 20,000 nautical miles on voyages that can last up to 60 days.

It can break through ice up to 1.5 meters thick at a speed of 2 to 3 nautical miles per hour.

Xuelong 2 can break ice backward or forwards, is capable of rotating 360 degrees at a standstill and breaking ice ridges of 20 meters high.

Xuelong 2 will join Xuelong 1 on China's 36th Antarctic expedition in the second half of 2019.

National celebration

The State Council designated China Maritime Day on July 11, 2005, celebrating the 600th anniversary of ancient Chinese explorer Zheng He's maiden voyage in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

China Maritime Naitonal Day this year salutes the country's fisheries, shipbuilders, maritime research, education industry and the country's naval personnel.

The theme this 15th year is "driving the high-quality development of the shipping industry," according to a public notice issued Thursday by the China National Maritime Day activities organization working committee, whose 25 members include the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy and the ministries of transport, natural resources, agriculture and rural affairs.

China has made remarkable achievements in the seafaring and maritime industry, the statement said. The number of ports and registered mariners top the world and the size of the sea transport fleet is also among the largest.

Fields such as shipbuilding industry, deep-sea fishing and maritime scientific research have also witnessed accelerated advancement, and the rescue system is increasingly complete, read the statement.

It underscored the PLA Navy's convoy that showcases China's commitment to building a maritime community with a shared future and China's image as a responsible world power that takes initiatives to fulfill its international duties.

"China has stepped up to shoulder more international duties especially in the maritime sector in peaceful and cooperative ways, as its overall strengths have grown significantly thanks to the reform and opening-up, much different from its historical image as a landlocked country that isolated itself from the sea and the outside world," said Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the People's Liberation Army in Beijing.

Such a transformation is happy news for the rest of the world, Li asserted, as China, unlike any other maritime power, seeks no exclusive hegemony in any regions or waters.

Xinhua News Agency said as of April, the PLA Navy fleets have escorted over 6,600 vessels over 10 years in the Gulf of Aden, Somalia.

The Chinese Navy also engages in missions in other parts of the world. In March 2015, a Chinese naval vessel evacuated 621 Chinese citizens and over 270 people of other nationalities in nine days from Yemen, which was then suffering a civil war.

In December 2014, a Chinese fleet delivered 960 tons of fresh water to 150,000 people in the Maldives after a desalination plant caught fire.

The naval hospital ship Peace Ark, designed and manufactured by China, has traveled to 43 countries and regions and provided medical services to over 230,000 people since it was put into service over 10 years ago.

The national maritime day was celebrated in different forms all over the country.

Some 400 distinguished guests from ports, shipping logistics firms and international organizations of countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative routes attended a China National Maritime Day forum in Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang Province.

China Maritime Museum in Shanghai opened for free and the producers of The Rescue, a movie adaptation of a real sea rescue mission, also released a 5-minute trailer on Thursday.



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