China's most advanced, independently-made marine science expedition vessel is ready for service after passing official certification Friday, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Development of "Kexue" (science), a 4,700-tonne vessel capable of conducting deep and open sea exploration and research, began in 2007. said a CAS statement.
"It is the country's first maritime scientific expedition ship made with independent intellectual property rights," it said.
At a length of 99.8 meters and a maximum breadth of 17.8 meters, Kexue has an endurance of 15,000 nautical miles. It is equipped with unmanned, tether-attached submersibles, deep-towed exploration instruments and deep-sea grabs with live camera feeds.
"The ship will focus on basic marine science research and the development of marine-related technology, serving as a mobile surface lab," said Sun Song, head of the CAS Institute of Oceanology.
Kexue started trial runs in January 2013, successfully completing missions such as surveying deep-sea extreme environments and deep-sea oil, gas and genetic resources.
China has been vigorously expanding its scientific reach in recent years. An 8,000-tonne icebreaker is currently in the design stage while its predecessor, the Ukraine-built Xuelong, is already a veteran in polar expeditions.
Last month, a deep-sea manned submersible, Jiaolong, concluded a 120-day expedition in the southwest Indian Ocean, collecting data and samples for hydrothermal fluids and conducting deep-sea biodiversity research. It reached its record depth of 7,062 meters in 2012. (Xinhua)