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Jiaolong begins 2-month exploration in Pacific

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-19 16:40

ABOARD XIANGYANGHONG - The Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, departed aboard its support ship, the Xiangyanghong-09, from the port city of Xiamen on Friday for two months of exploration in the Pacific Ocean.

During the voyage, the sub will submerge for scientific research focused on polymetallic nodules in the northeast Pacific and cobalt-rich crusts in the northwest Pacific.

The exploration is part of a 103-day experimental application mission that was conducted with the sub's voyage from June 10 to July 10 in the South China Sea.

The Jiaolong carried out ten dives in the month-long voyage. Its activities included conducting research on cold seeps and the Jiaolong Seamount, which was named after the sub after scientists aboard the vessel discovered it.

With ten scientists aboard this time, the Jiaolong will explore deep sea resources, paving the way for future mining activities.

The Jiaolong set a new dive record after reaching 7,062 meters in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in June 2012, Liu Cigui, director of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), said when seeing the crew members off in Xiamen.

Liu said the achievement has demonstrated China's ability to conduct deep sea scientific research and resource exploration in 99.8 percent of the world's seafloor.

The vessel is set to return to Jiangyin city in eastern Jiangsu province on Sept 20 after completing its mission.

The 103-day mission marks the start of a five-year trial period for the Jiaolong before it is put into regular operation.

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