China's second icebreaker is scheduled to be put into use in 2014 to better conduct polar researches alongside the current icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, an oceanic official said Sunday.
Concept design of the new icebreaker has been completed and the program is going smoothly, said Weng Lixin, deputy director of the polar research office at the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).
The icebreaker is capable of breaking ice up to 1.5 meters thick, in comparison with the 1.2-meter icebreaking capacity of Xuelong, an A-2 class icebreaker, according to Weng.
With a tonnage of 8,000, the new vessel will have a cruising capacity of 20,000 nautical miles, and can work in water for up to 60 days with a top speed of 15 knots, Weng said.
Outfitted with an onboard helicopter, the icebreaker will serve as a moving scientific platform where various oceanic researches will be conducted, according to Weng.
It will also undertake the task of delivering supplies to some Antarctic stations, Weng added.
(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2012)