China is about to send the largest research ship to the South China Sea

China is about to send the largest research ship to the South China Sea
China is about to send the largest research ship to the South China Sea

The 6,880-ton research vessel of Zhongshan University is scheduled to arrive in the South China Sea for a “scientific survey” next week, five months after it was handed over.

The maritime research and training vessel Zhongshan University, belonging to the school of the same name, arrived at Zhuhai Cao Lan port in Guangdong province on November 21, marking the beginning of operation after being handed over to the unit. owner in June.

The ship is scheduled to begin its maiden voyage to the South China Sea next week to conduct “scientific research” in the three areas of atmospheric, oceanic and biological in order to “provide scientific information for understanding, protect and develop the region,” state media reported today. The planned deployment area of ​​Zhongshan University has not been announced.

Yu Weidong, a professor at the School of Atmospheric Sciences at Zhongshan University, said in July that the ship might go to Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago to study “moisture in the western boundary of the East Sea”. and neighboring seas to provide scientific data for disaster prevention”.

The research vessel Zhongshan University moves in the waters off the city of Shanghai, China on July 26. Photo: CGTN.

Zhongshan University has a displacement of 6,880 tons, is 114.3 meters long and 19.4 meters wide, and is China’s largest oceanic research vessel. The ship carries a crew of 100 people and can travel more than 27,000 km.

760 m2 of deck space on board for fixed laboratories, more than 610 m2 for 10 container-type mobile laboratories. Experts can collect samples at sea and analyze them on board before transferring data to land.

The ship has a helipad to transfer people and equipment, and allows the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to expand the range of scientific observations in the air, on the sea and on the seabed. An array weather radar will be installed on board by 2022.

China announced in March that it was building another research vessel with a displacement of 10,100 tons. Once completed, it will be “China’s most powerful integrated marine scientific research vessel”.

China says that maritime studies will serve the public interest, but is met with skepticism by international public opinion.

Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, former commander of the Self-Defense Fleet of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, told VnExpress in July that China’s claims cannot be trusted. “This is a Chinese tactic that has fooled many countries in the past,” he said.

“The Chinese government and military can integrate all the activities carried out by China’s organizations. Maritime and oceanographic activities are no exception,” the vice admiral commented. “China will use all data collected by Sun Yat-sen University ships for other purposes, including military and undersea mining.”

China unilaterally drew up the so-called “nine-dash line” to raise unreasonable sovereignty claims over most of the East Sea. It also illegally built up and militarized many artificial islands in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago.

During a press conference in July, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang declared that all exploration, survey and scientific research activities in the Hoang Sa archipelago without the permission of Vietnam are infringing. sovereignty and related rights of Vietnam, illegal and void.

Nguyen Tien (Follow CGTN)

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