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China leads the way in deep-sea exploration

Updated : 2024-03-05
By ZHAO LEI(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Ye Cong, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is interviewed ahead of the opening of the second session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on March 4, 2024. [Photo by Wang Jing/chinadaily.com.cn]

China has accounted for more than half of all of the world's manned deep-sea explorations over the past three years, according to a project insider.

Ye Cong, deputy director of the China Ship Scientific Research Center in Jiangsu province's Wuxi, said on Monday that the nation's three manned deep-sea submersibles — Jiaolong, or Sea Dragon; Shenhai Yongshi, or Deep-Sea Warrior; and Fendouzhe, or Striver — have completed more than 1,100 dives since their commissioning and the number of their operations during the past three years accounted for over 50 percent of the world's total crewed deep-sea expeditions over the same period.

He noted that Fendouzhe, the world's deepest-reaching manned submersible and also the first capable of bringing humans 10,000 meters underwater, has carried out 230 deep dives, including 25 that carried 32 Chinese and foreign scientists to depths of more than 10,000 meters.

Currently, the vehicle has been working in the Sunda Trench, located in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra, fulfilling a China-Indonesia joint scientific task, according to Ye.

Fendouzhe was designed and built by Ye's center, a China State Shipbuilding Corp subsidiary known for its deep-sea submersibles' research and development. It sets a national depth record of 10,909 meters on Nov 10, 2020 in the Challenger Deep, a 11,000-meter chasm located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean.

"In the future, we will further extend the reach of our deep-sea explorations to waters under glaciers in polar regions. We will also establish an omni-dimensional system that will span from skies to seabeds to bolster our knowledge and management of oceans," he said.

Ye was making the remarks in front of reporters before attending the second session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which opened in Beijing on Monday afternoon. He is a member of the CPPCC National Committee, the top political advisory body in China.

China is now one of the few countries that can carry out manned expeditions at any ocean depth. The country has invested heavily in the field of deep-sea exploration in recent years and has achieved considerable feats in this sphere.

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