Finland’s Aker Arctic Technology in Helsinki and the Marine Design and Research Institute in Shanghai jointly designed China’s first domestically built icebreaker, Xuelong 2(Snow Dragon 2). The icebreaker was on 11 July 2019 delivered to the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources’ Polar Research Institute at a commissioning ceremony at Jiangnan Shipyard Group, which built the vessel. Construction began at Jiangnan Shipyard Group in December 2016.
Xuelong 2will enable China to better support its polar research and expeditions, the ministry said.
The Marine Design and Research Institute and Jiangnan Shipyard Group are both parts of China State Shipbuilding Corp, a State-owned shipbuilding conglomerate.
Xuelong 2is 122.5 meters long, 22.3 meters wide, and has a displacement of 13,996 metric tons. With a maximum speed of 15 knots, or 27.8 kilometers per hour, it can sail more than 37,000 km in a single voyage and sustain 60-day expeditions with 90 crew members and researchers, according to China State Shipbuilding Corp.
Incorporating state-of-the-art design and advanced equipment, the icebreaker is capable of operating in any ocean.
It is equipped with world-class oceanographic survey and monitoring apparatus, allowing experts to carry out research into polar regions’ physical oceanography, biodiversity, and atmospheric and environmental conditions, as well as conduct fishery resource surveys.
Before the delivery of Xuelong 2, China operated a single icebreaker, Xuelong, which was designed for cargo transportation rather than scientific research operations when it was built in Ukraine in 1993. Xuelongwas purchased by China and converted into a polar research and resupply vessel. It has carried out dozens of scientific expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.
Researchers will now test and fine-tune the scientific instruments on Xuelong 2before its first mission, China’s 36th Antarctic expedition, later this year alongside Xuelong, the ministry said.