China’s 1st domestically built polar icebreaker Xuelong 2 visits HKSAR

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China’s first domestically made icebreaker Xuelong 2 on Monday arrived in the country’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for a five-day visit.

Xuelong 2, which arrived at HKSAR for the very first time, entered the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui on Monday morning after completing its latest Antarctic expedition.

Speaking at a welcoming ceremony, John Lee, chief executive of the HKSAR, said that Xuelong 2 is China’s first domestically built icebreaker for polar expeditions, and possesses many key technologies and innovations.

Lee said that the first stop of Xuelong 2’s return voyage is Hong Kong where the country’s Antarctic expedition team will share with the public their work and scientific research results, fully demonstrating the central government’s care for Hong Kong.

Sun Shuxian, deputy minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources, said that in October 2004 when China’s 21st Antarctic expedition was to begin, the country’s polar research vessel Xuelong visited Hong Kong and received a warm welcome.

After 20 years, Xuelong 2 will push ahead with the exchanges and cooperation between scientific research institutions on the mainland and Hong Kong in the field of polar research, Sun added.

Zhang Beichen, chief scientist of China’s 40th Antarctic expedition and team leader, said that Xuelong, Xuelong 2 and cargo ship Tianhui set off from Shanghai on November 1, 2023 and successfully completed various expedition tasks that lasted 161 days while traveling more than 81,000 nautical miles.

China’s icebreaker Xuelong 2 is open to the public from April 9 to April 12, 2024. /CFP

China’s icebreaker Xuelong 2 is open to the public from April 9 to April 12, 2024. /CFP

The organizing committee of Xuelong 2’s visit hoped that the visit would promote Hong Kong people’s understanding of the country’s polar expedition, especially young people’s interest and enthusiasm for polar scientific research.

The icebreaker will be open to the public from Tuesday to Friday. During their stay in Hong Kong, the Antarctic expedition team will hold a two-day international conference on climate change at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Xuelong 2’s scientists will also meet with about 200 students at the Hong Kong Science Museum where the “Polar Research and Climate Change” exhibition was held.

Xuelong 2 is China’s fourth polar research vessel, following Xiangyanghong 10, Jidi, and Xuelong. It measures 122.5 meters in length, with a displacement of nearly 14,000 tonnes, has a total installed power of 23.2 megawatts, and has the capacity to carry 101 members.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency