China's first self-built icebreaker, Xuelong-2, left the Shekou port in Shenzhen (southern Guangdong province) on Tuesday, where it arrived from Shanghai a few days ago, and set off on its first expedition to the Antarctic. This was reported by Xinhua News Agency.
For the new Chinese icebreaker, this will be the first mission, and the research expedition to the South Pole will become the 36th for China. On board the Xuelong-2 there is a team of specialists of 413 people. In this mission, Xuelong-2 will carry out various tasks along with China's long-used icebreaker Xuelong, which was previously acquired from Ukraine and has already completed 22 calls to the Antarctic region and nine to the Arctic.
During the 162-day expedition, the Xuelong-2 icebreaker will have to overcome over 29.7 thousand nautical miles in total. Before performing a number of research tasks in the Sea of Cosmonauts, the icebreaker will go to the Zhongshan Chinese station and then go to the Changcheng station area. His return to China is scheduled for March 2020.
According to Qin Weijia, Director of the China Arctic and Antarctic Administration at the Oceanological Administration of China, the 36th South Pole Research Expedition is designed to improve understanding of the impact of Antarctic change on the rest of the world, increase China’s ability to withstand climate change, and increase participation countries in global governance of the region.