Qingdao, China: China needs to build at least 10 more research vessels in the next five to ten years to cater to the country’s rising demand for marine exploration, especially in deep-sea areas, according to Sun Song, Director of the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS).
In conversation with Xinhua, Song observed that about two-thirds of China’s 15 major research vessels currently in operation — most of which were built in the early 1980s — are outdated and on the verge of being retired. Various oceanographic research aspects, such as water body detection, atmospheric exploration, deep-sea environment exploration and remote sensing information verification, will be conducted after it is put into use.
Song added China recently launched a newly designed research vessel, Kexue (or “Science”), on the Yangtze River in Wuhan, the capital city of central Hubei province. The ship is the most advanced comprehensive research vessel ever built in China. It will boost the country’s capability in oceanographic surveying and bridge the gap between China and Western marine powers.
Song stressed Kexue alone cannot fill the role of specialty vessels, but it will be a key research vessel among China’s fleet in the next 10 to 20 years. “China also needs more advanced specialty vessels, such as oil, environmental and engineering vessels, to build up a complete oceanographic surveying system,” he said.