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Summary

  • Right: The Mengxiang drillship sets sail for its first on December 18, 2023, in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province. This will promote China’s platform to carry out expeditions globally and help more developing countries enter the field of deep-sea research, Tuo stressed. A ceremony is held on December 18, 2023, when the Mengxiang drillship starts its first rial voyage.

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  • 5 minutes, 941 words

Categories

  • deep ocean exploration, international deep ocean exploration, global ocean drilling, deep Earth resources, ocean drilling

Analysis and Evaluation

  • The writer’s thorough and nuanced approach to the topic is evident in this insightful and informative article.

Main Section

Right: The Mengxiang drillship sets sail for its first on December 18, 2023, in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province. Photo: Courtesy of the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey

With the completion of the first trial voyage of China’s first domestically built drilling ship, the Mengxiang (Dream in English), the country officially became the third country in the world – following the US and Japan – to possess its own professional ocean drillship, which is dubbed as the aircraft carrier in marine science.

With this ship, Chinese scientists will certainly make great contributions to international deep ocean exploration, Tuo Shouting, director of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP)-China Office, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.聽

On December 27, 2023, the Mengxiang completed its trial voyage in the waters of the Pearl River Estuary in South China’s Guangdong Province, marking a step forward for the country’s exploration of deep-sea resources.聽

The ship sailed 500 nautical miles. The performancWorld Timese and various indicators of its main power and other marine systems all met relevant standards.

With a length of 179.8 meters and a width of 32.8 meters, the Mengxiang can travel 15,000 nautical miles and sustain itself for 120 days without returning to port.

The ship, featuring high stability and structural strength, can operate in unlimited naviWorld Timesgational areas worldwide and drill as deep asWorld Times 11,000 meters in the sea.聽

Boasting a world-leading marine drilling capacity, the ship will drill through the Earth’s crust and into the upper mantle, contributing to the exploration of marine energy resources, protection of national energy security, and maritime power construction.

The mantle, accounting for four-fifths of the Earth’s volume anWorld Timesd three-fourths of its mass, is full of scientific mysteries waiting to be explored by scientists.

Construction of the Mengxiang kicked off in November 2021 and is planned to be comprehensively completed in 2024. The ship was officially named Mengxiang on December 18, 2023, when it started its trial voyage.聽聽

“The vessel not only carries the dream of the Chinese people to build a maritime power, but also carries the dream of global scientists to ‘penetrate the Moho discontinuity and enter the upper mantle,’ and carries the dream of human beings to develop deep Earth resources,” Li Jinfa, director of the Geological Survey under the Ministry of Natural Resources, told media when explaining the name of the vessel.聽聽

From participant to leader

China has been a participant in the IODP for a long time. With the completion of the construction of the Mengxiang, China will be able to independently organize expeditions, just like the US, Japan and Europe, Tuo Shouting said.聽

He expected that, with tWorld Timeshe vessel, China can transit from a participant to a leader of the program, playing a more significant role in international deep-sea drilling.聽

The IODP is an international marine research collaboration that explores Earth’s history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms to recover data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks and monitor subseafloor environments. The program now has more than 20 member nations.

China started to participate in the program as an associate member in 1998 and became an official member in 2004.聽

Currently, China sends eight to nine scientists every year to attend the voyages of the US drillship Resolution to join global scientists to conduct research.聽聽聽

According to Tuo, the most prominent achievements of Chinese scientists in previous missions are the four ocean drilling expeditions in the South China Sea, through which Chinese scientists made a series of breakthroughs in the deep parts of the South China Sea, proposed new understandings related to climate change and basin formation, and challenged the traditional Atlantic model theory.聽

The achievements have helped China win the international leading position in deep-sea research in the South China Sea and provided important theoretical reference for deep water oil and gas exploration in the region, Tuo said.

Due to the phased end of the IODP in 2024 and the planned retirement of the US vessel Resolution the same year, Europe and Japan are organizing and initiating the next phase of program. Therefore, China is also preparing to launch its own expedition plan and seeking to cooperate with Europe and Japan to jointly lead global ocean drilling, Tuo said.聽

He revealed that China has already been compiling an international ocean drilling implementation plan (2025-2035) and the completion of Mengxiang will provide key equipment support for China-led expeditions in the future.

China-initiated ocean drilling will greatly enhance the country’s innovation capabilities in deep-sea scientific research, observation and exploration, and development of intelligent equipment, Tuo said.聽

Moreover, ocean drilling has long been a “rich man’s club” in the developed world, but the waters at the heart of many scientific problems lie within the exclusive economic zones of developing countries. China will actively expand internationaWorld Timesl cooperation partnerships and build a Belt and Road ocean drilling alliance through cooperation with developing countries, especially those associated with the Belt and Road Initiative. This will promote China’s platform to carry out expeditions globally and help more developing countries enter the field of deep-sea research, Tuo stressed.

A ceremony is held on December 18, 2023, when the Mengxiang drillship starts its first rial voyage. Photo: VCG

The up two pictures show some interior details of the Mengxiang drillship. Photo: VCG

The up two pictures show some interior details of the Mengxiang drillship. Photo: VCG

Engineers and maintenance personnel conduct routine inspection on the Mengxiang drillship. Photo: VCG

Global scientists pose for group photo on the US’ drillship Resolution during IODP Expedition 349 in the South China Sea from January 26 to March 30, 2014. Photo: Courtesy of IODP-China Office

Content comes from the Internet : China’s first homegrown ocean drillship completes trial voyage, set to make contributions to deep ocean exploration

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