Fish­ery sur­vey ship nearly ready to sail

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHANG ZHIHAO zhangzhi­hao@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ves­sel with mul­ti­ple abil­i­ties ex­pected to en­hance China’s pres­ence at sea

China’s first ocean­go­ing fish­ery sur­vey ship, Song Hang, will be fully op­er­a­tional by mid-Novem­ber and will fin­ish its first sur­vey mis­sion by early De­cem­ber, a se­nior ma­rine sci­en­tist said on Wed­nes­day.

The Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and the Shang­hai gov­ern­ment in­vested about 250 mil­lion yuan ($37.7 mil­lion) to build the ship. After two years of con­struc­tion, it ar­rived at Luchao Port in Shang­hai on Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to Shang­hai Ocean Univer­sity.

The ves­sel is named after the univer­sity’s first train­ing ship, which was built in 1916 but sunk by Ja­pan dur­ing World War II. It weighs 3,166 met­ric tons, is 85 me­ters long and has a top speed of 15 knots. It is ca­pa­ble of a 60-day voy­age of 10,000 nau­ti­cal miles (18,520 kilo­me­ters) with 59 crew mem­bers.

Its pri­mary mis­sion is to sur­vey fish­ery re­sources in the open sea far be­yond the coastal re­gion, said Chen Xin­jun, the pres­i­dent of the univer­sity’s Col­lege of Ma­rine Sciences.

The ship will op­er­ate in the north­ern and south­east­ern Pa­cific Ocean, as well as in the south­west­ern At­lantic and other seas, he said. It will search for tuna, squid, mack­erel, Antarc­tic krill and other species.

“The ship will im­prove our na­tion’s con­trol and man­age­ment over its ocean fish­ery re­sources, col­lect more ro­bust mar­itime sci­en­tific data and pro­tect our mar­itime in­ter­ests,” he said.

China’s far-ocean fish­ing op­er­a­tions be­gan three decades ago, but the pro­duc­tion of re­lated goods was only 1.3 per­cent of the world’s to­tal be­cause of tech­no­log­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions, he added.

“The new ship adds ca­pa­bil­i­ties for dis­tant sea op­er­a­tions,” he said. “It has great sig­nif­i­cance in tap­ping into China’s ocean fish­ery re­sources, pro­tect­ing ocean ecol­ogy and trans­form­ing China into a mar­itime power.”

Song Hang is also equipped with five lab­o­ra­to­ries for mar­itime re­search rang­ing from mar­itime bio­di­ver­sity to cli­mate and wa­ter sur­veys. It can col­lect bi­o­log­i­cal sam­ples, sur­vey the sea floor and mon­i­tor weather and hy­dro­logic pat­terns, Chen said.

“It will be a plat­form to train more highly tal­ented peo­ple in fish­eries,” he said, and for Chi­nese and for­eign sci­en­tists to con­duct var­i­ous mar­itime re­search. He said the ship will be man­aged en­tirely by the univer­sity.

The ves­sel is now un­der­go­ing fi­nal setup of its fish­ing and re­search sys­tems. It will com­plete a trial voy­age and be fully op­er­a­tional by mid-Novem­ber, Chen said. It is ex­pected to be­gin its first ocean fish­ery re­source sur­vey mis­sion — com­mis­sioned by the Shang­hai gov­ern­ment — around late Novem­ber, and com­plete it by early De­cem­ber.

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