Thursday, June 13, 2024

China’s 1st domestically made polar icebreaker Xuelong 2 visits HKSAR

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China’s first domestically made icebreaker Xuelong 2 on Monday arrived in the country’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for a five-day visit.

Xuelong 2, which came to Hong Kong for the very first time, entered the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui on Monday morning after completing their latest Antarctic expedition.

Speaking at a welcoming ceremony, John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR, said that Xuelong 2 is China’s first domestically built polar icebreaker for polar expedition, possessing a number of key technologies and innovations.

Lee said that the first stop of Xuelong 2’s return voyage is Hong Kong where the country’s Antarctic expedition team will share with the public their work and scientific research results, fully demonstrating the central government’s care for Hong Kong.

Sun Shuxian, deputy minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources, said that in October 2004 when China’s 21st Antarctic expedition was going to begin, the country’s polar research vessel Xuelong visited Hong Kong and received a warm welcome.

After 20 years, Xuelong 2 will push ahead with the exchanges and cooperation between scientific research institutions in mainland and Hong Kong in the field of polar research, Sun said.

Zhang Beichen, chief scientist of China’s 40th Antarctic expedition and the team leader, said that Xuelong, Xuelong 2 and cargo ship Tianhui set off from Shanghai on November 1, 2023 and successfully completed various expedition tasks that lasted 161 days with a total of more than 81,000 nautical miles.

The organizing committee of Xuelong 2’s visit hoped that the visit will promote Hong Kong people’s understanding of the country’s polar expedition, especially young people’s interest and enthusiasm for polar scientific research.

The icebreaker will be open for public visits from Tuesday to Friday. During their stay in Hong Kong, the Antarctic expedition team will hold a two-day international conference on climate change at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Xuelong 2’s scientists will meet with about 200 students at the Hong Kong Science Museum where the “Polar Research and Climate Change” exhibition was held.

Xuelong 2 is China’s fourth polar research vessel, following Xiangyanghong 10, Jidi, and Xuelong. It measures 122.5 meters in length, with a displacement of nearly 14,000 tons, a total installed power of 23.2 megawatts, and a capacity of 101 members.

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