China’s research ship Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, left a port in Shanghai for the Arctic yesterday. It is set to conduct the country’s eighth expedition in the polar region.
Some 96 scientists are participating in the undertaking. The team will go on a 19,000-nautical-mile journey that is expected to take 83 days. The expedition is China’s first observational operation in the Arctic. It will focus on ocean acidification and microplastics studies.
Research in these areas is crucial to tackling pollution and global warming in the oceans, Science and Technologies Daily reported. The voyage will help China obtain scientific information and statistics that will help the country better manage and supervise marine pollution, promoting its environmental protection capabilities.
As China’s first research vessel designed for polar expeditions, Xue Long was built in 1993 at the Kherson Shipyard in Ukraine, with a length of more than 160 meters. The ship is equipped with helicopters, research support systems and emergency equipment, and has already carried out several international rescue missions.