The world’s move north to the Arctic for the exploration of energy resources has attracted global attention of Arctic and non-Arctic states. The newest player: China, which last month announced its plan to design and build its first ever Polar Research Vessel.
The plan has been organized by State Oceanic Administration
(SOA),China, Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) and the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) to build a new icebreaking research vessel to meet the country’s increased need of polar scientific research. As would be expected, the new vessel will be equipped with advanced scientific equipment for polar oceans research, an integrated survey systems including marine geological and geophysical equipment, marine biological and ecological instruments.
For the integrated environmental science programs the vessel will have marine and atmospheric observing and sampling capabilities closely related with climate change monitoring. The marine geological and geophysical capabilities will give possibilities for seasonal polar marine geology, marine gravity, magnetic and seismic surveys. For marine biological and ecological programs the vessel will enable marine organism and ecological surveys and acts as a biological research platform. The vessel may be used also for the Antarctic station supplies logistic tasks undertaking som
e of M/V Xuelong’s mission especially in the heavy sea ice condition.
To design the new ship China has turned to Finnish Arctic powerhouse Aker Arctic, an organization with a long and successful record in designs for the harsh Arctic environment. Aker Arctic will perform the conceptual and basic design of the new Polar Research Vessel. The value of the signed contract for Aker Arctic is more than $5m.
“After sustained effort, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and the Aker Arctic Technology Inc., agree with all the basic design requirements of the new Polar Research Vessel of China and sign the contract,” said Mr. Qu Tanzhou, Director General, Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration of State Oeananic Administration. “As the first polar scientific research icebreaker for China, its successful design and build will not only push forward our polar scientific research career by achieving more successes, but also will make great development on Chinese ship construction industry."
The polar research icebreaker for China will be designed to accommodate a total of 90 persons and will have a length overall of about 120m, a maximum breadth of 22.3m and draft of 8.5 m. The vessel will have the ability to break through 1.5 m of level ice at 2 to 3 knots speed, including multi-year ice. The vessel will be fitted with twin azimuthing propeller drives. Ice class will be PC3 and the vessel will have dual classification from China Classification
Society (CCS) and Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR).
The design time is expected to take seven months to complete.