CHINA China's polar icebreaker under maintenance, preparing for Arctic expedition


China's polar icebreaker under maintenance, preparing for Arctic expedition


17:32, May 27, 2020

China's polar icebreaker Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, is seen at the port of Cape Town of South Africa on Jan 20, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

BEIJING - Xuelong 2, China's first domestically built polar icebreaker, has been in a shipyard for maintenance after its first Antarctica expedition, preparing for future sea trials and scientific research to the Arctic region.

The ship's maintenance, together with some legacy works, is being carried out at the Jiangnan Shipyard Group in Shanghai. It will be completed in mid-June, sources with the Polar Research Institute of China said.

Since it entered the shipyard on April 28, the maintenance has focused on strengthening the ship's hull structures and power system.

Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, set off from Shenzhen on Oct 15, 2019, for the country's 36th Antarctic expedition and returned to Shanghai on April 23 after sailing more than 35,000 nautical miles. The voyage lasted 198 days, after which it arrived in China's Zhongshan Station and Great Wall Station in the Antarctic to conduct research. Scientists aboard completed a number of surveys in the Amundsen Sea and the Cosmonauts Sea, and deployed buoys in other ocean areas.

Another Xuelong icebreaker also joined the expedition, making it the first time that two polar icebreakers worked together on China's Antarctic research.

The expedition proves that the icebreaking capacity of Xuelong 2 can continuously break ice as thick as 1.5 meters at a speed of 2 knots (3.70 kph) to 3 knots (5.56 kph), meeting the requirement of the design, sources with the institute said.

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