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Chinese research icebreaker Xuelong 2 completes Antarctic expedition

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-07 16:55
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SHANGHAI - China's research icebreaker Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, concluded the country's 37th Antarctic expedition on Friday, and returned to the home port in Shanghai.

Xuelong 2 embarked on the scientific expedition on Nov 10, 2020, from Shanghai and traveled more than 36,000 nautical miles over the past 179 days.

The vessel carried supply and rotational staff to China's Zhongshan Station and Great Wall Station in the region. Marine ecosystem and environmental investigations were carried out as part of the expedition during the trip.

The team also successfully carried out rescue operations for international Antarctic expedition members and forged international cooperation in the Antarctic expedition material supply. It has withstood the test of COVID-19, as zero infections were reported among the team members.

This is the first time that Xuelong 2 has completed a single-vessel expedition around the Antarctic.

As China's independently developed polar icebreaker and scientific research vessel, Xuelong 2 is 122.5 meters long and 22.32 meters wide, with a designed displacement of 13,996 tonnes. It can continuously break ice as thick as 1.5 meters at a speed of 2 knots (3.70 kph) to 3 knots (5.56 kph).

Before the expedition, Xuelong 2 had completed one mission to the South and North Pole, respectively, since its delivery in July 2019.

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