China’s first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker, Xuelong 2 docks at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on Thursday morning. Photo: Polar Research Institute of China

China’s first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker, Xuelong 2, has been delivered to the Polar Research Institute of China in Shanghai on Thursday, which is the country’s 15th China National Maritime Day, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources. 

The delivery event, held in Shanghai on Thursday afternoon, further enhances the country’s capability in polar research.

Xuelong 2, with a displacement of 13,996 tons, is 122.5 meters in length and 22.32 meters in width. The vessel was jointly designed by Finnish engineering company Aker Artic, and the 708th Research Institute of the China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC). The ship was built by CSSC’s Jiangnan Shipyard Group, according to a statement the Ministry of Natural Resources sent to the Global Times on Thursday. 

The icebreaker can sail at a speed of 12 to 15 nautical miles per hour (approximately 22-28 kilometers per hour) in open water, and has a range of 20,000 nautical miles on voyages that can last up to 60 days.

It can break through ice up to 1.5 meters thick at a speed of 2 to 3 nautical miles per hour. 

Xuelong 2 can break ice in both bow and stern directions, and is capable of rotating 360 degree at a standstill, and breaking ice ridges of 20 meters high. 

Xuelong 2 will join Xuelong 1 on China’s 36th Antarctic expedition in the second half of 2019.

The State Council designated China Maritime Day on July 11, 2005, celebrating the 600th anniversary of ancient Chinese explorer Zheng He’s maiden voyage during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). 

China Maritime Day today salutes the country’s fisheries, shipbuilders, maritime research and education industries and the country’s naval troops.