Jiaolong submersible ends 2-month Pacific voyage

Updated: 2013-09-18 14:26


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ABOARD XIANGYANGHONG 09 - Jiaolong, China's first manned deep-sea submersible, ended a 2-month trial and exploration voyage in the Pacific Ocean as it entered the Yangtze River estuary on Wednesday.

Since the submersible's carrier, Xiangyanghong 09, set sail on June 10 from the southeast China port city Xiamen, Jiaolong has explored the South China Sea and the northeast and northwest Pacific Ocean, accomplishing 21 dives and carrying 10 scientists.

Scientists brought back a total of 390 creatures from the seafloor representing 71 species, including coral, sea cucumbers and sea anemones, as well as a number of samples including 161 polymetallic nodules, 32 rocks, and 180 kg of sediment.

The Xiangyanghong 09 is now carrying the submersible and heading for Jiangyin city in East China's Jiangsu province.

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

"It is a significant issue in China's oceanic study," said Wang Pinxian, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "It is quite important to get first-hand materials for deep-sea study."

The voyage tested and improved Jiaolong's work capacity, improved operation codes, trained a professional team, and resulted in scientific achievements, scientists said.

Jiaolong set a record in June 2012 by reaching 7,062 meters deep in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench, allowing the vessel to conduct deep sea scientific research and resource exploration in 99.8 percent of the world's seafloors.