China's icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, carried out sea tests ahead of the schedule near the Bering Sea on July 7, after its temporary stop over an extratropical cyclone.
The expedition team, on China's fifth Arctic mission, lowered a Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth (CTD) sensor down to the 1,500-meter-deep seafloor in an attempt to collect water samples and used a winch to put an eight-meter long pipe into the sea to retrieve samples.
It finished the exercises more than four hours later.
Ma Deyi, chief scientist of the expedition team, told Xinhua that the tests were to enhance the new equipment's coordination with the old one and train new members working aboard the Xuelong to improve their operation skills.
China's National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center said Saturday that an extratropical cyclone would occur in the Bering Sea region on Monday or Tuesday. Under its impact, there will be wind ranging from Force 8 to Force 9, which will produce waves up to 3 to 4 meters high, it said.
The vessel on Monday left the port city of Qingdao in east China, and is scheduled to return to Shanghai on September 29.
The Xuelong, an A-2 class icebreaker capable of breaking ice 1.2 meters thick, is estimated to travel over 17,000 nautical miles (27,000 km) during its 90-day voyage.
(Xinhua News Agency July 8, 2012)