DEEPSEA TAXI DRIVER Ye Cong,
one of the designers and a pilot of Jiaolong, China’s first manned submersible, was among the 100 Chinese citizens who were awarded the reform pioneer medal at an gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up on December 18.
Born in 1979, Ye joined the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. after graduating from Harbin Engineering University in 2002. He was appointed one of the designers to develop China’s first manned deep-sea submersible in 2003.
In addition to being a vessel designer, Ye also volunteered to become one of its pilots.
Currently, there are eight certificated pilots who can independently drive Jiaolong.
From 2009 to 2012, Jiaolong carried out 51 dives, 38 of which were piloted by Ye, who drove to depths ranging from 50 to 7,062 meters. It earned him the nickname “deep-sea taxi driver.”