BEIJING • China will soon begin building its first marine resources survey ship and its first mother ship for manned submersibles, according to the State Oceanic Administration.
Mr Hu Xuedong, deputy director of the administration's deep sea department, which oversees China's ocean exploration programmes, said in Beijing on Wednesday that construction work on the two vessels will start by July.
The survey ship will be built in Guangzhou in Guangdong province, while the mother ship for manned submersibles will be made in Wuhan in Hubei province.
"The two ships will have world-class technological and operational capacity. They will be able to travel at least 6,000 nautical miles on each journey," said Mr Hu.
"Their service will extensively improve our capabilities in ocean surveying, deep-sea science and marine environmental protection."
The ships, which have yet to be named, will be commissioned in the first half of 2019, he added.
Currently, China Marine Research Vessels operates 17 long- range oceanographic research ships and 15 coastal water survey ships.
According to the State Oceanic Administration, the marine resources survey ship will be 98m long and 17m wide, and will have a displacement of 4,000 tons. It will have an advanced electric propulsion system.
The vessel will carry more than 70 kinds of scientific research equipment and be capable of conducting highly accurate long- term surveys in a wide range of fields such as marine geology, marine ecology and ocean atmosphere systems.
Meanwhile, the mother ship, which will serve China's manned submersible Jiaolong, will also have a displacement of around 4,000 tons. It will support Jiaolong's operations and analyse samples taken by the submersible, according to the State Oceanic Administration.
Mr Hu said the mother ship will also assist the nation's effort to build a manned deep-sea station that the government plans to put into operation around 2030.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK