China launches first homemade icebreaker
China has launched its first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker, Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, which will be operational in the first half of 2019. The vessel was deployed in Shanghai on Sept 10 and will go through a series of tests and interior decoration before beginning official operations, according to its builder, Jiangnan Shipyard Group. The launch of the vessel has extensively boosted China’s polar research and expedition capabilities, according to the builder. The vessel is 122.5 meters long and 22.3 meters wide, with a displacement of 13,990 metric tons and a navigation capability of 20,000 nautical miles. It can sail on 60-day expeditions with 90 crew members and researchers. Construction of the vessel started in December 2016.