Ship designer illustration

Third Chinese polar icebreaker will carry deep-sea submersibles

The icebreaking multifunctional research ship is expected to be delivered in 2025 and will sail both Arctic and Antarctica
June 28, 2023


It features a bow that reminds of Russia’s new giant Leader-class super-icebreakers. But unlike the Russian vessel, China’s new icebreaker will not be nuclear-powered.

Construction started at Guangzhou Shipyard last Sunday and the 103 meters long ship with a displacement of about 9,200 tonnes is expected to be delivered in 2025, according to South China Morning Post.

Tang Gulashan, director of marine operations with the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering says the new icebreaker will have both crewed and uncrewed deep-sea mini-submarines aimed for seafloor operations both in Arctic and Antarctic waters.

At the North Pole, the depth is about 4,000 meters.

“Apart from Russia, no other country has sent people down to the polar seafloor in submersibles,” Tang said to the newspaper.

In August 2007, Russian polar explorer Artur Chilingarov accompanied five other explorers onboard two Mir submersibles diving down and planted a Russian flag on the seabed below the North Pole.

Polar Research Institute of China today operates two large icebreakers out of Shanghai, the “Xue Long” and “Xue Long 2”.



“Xue Long” is a research icebreaker operated by Polar Research Institute of China. Here at port in Shanghai with mark for Yellow River research station in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Photo: Thomas Nilsen




The Barents Observer Newsletter

After confirming you're a real person, you can write your email below and we include you to the subscription list.

Privacy policy