China on Saturday started building of the mother vessel for a 11,000-meter manned submersible as part of the country's deep-sea research ambitions.
The ship, Zhang Jian, named after the founder of Shanghai Ocean University, is 97 meters long and 17.8 meters wide. It has a designed displacement of around 4,800 metric tons and a 15,000-nautical mile endurance ability.
Designed to carry 60 people, the ship will be equipped with advanced laboratories, data processing and information centers and other devices.
The Zhang Jian ship will serve the manned submersible Rainbow Fish which is capable of diving to a depth of 11,000 meters, and general ocean expedition missions, deep-sea engineering, rescue and salvage, underwater archaeology and film shooting, said Cui Weicheng, head of the Hadal Research Center at Shanghai Ocean University.
The vessel will be delivered in June 2016. Chinese scientists will launch unmanned diving in the deepest area of the Pacific's Mariana Trench in 2016. They will launch manned diving in this area in 2019, with the Rainbow Fish submersible and other deep-sea devices.
China's manned submersible Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.
(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2015)