The Chinese research ship, Xue Long, also known as "Snow Dragon," left Shanghai on Friday for the Arctic to conduct the country's ninth polar expedition, a move scientists said will better build China's "Polar Silk Road."
The team, which will undertake a 12,300-nautical-mile journey, is expected to return to China by the end of September, according to a statement from the Polar Research Institute of China sent to the Global Times on Friday.
It said that the expedition will focus on researching marine ecology and preservation, and help better build China's "Polar Silk Road."
The expedition, which involves more than 100 scientists, will prioritize on China's needs of exploring Arctic regions, and is of great significance to the China's Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)'s future polar region expedition tasks, Zhang Xia, director of polar strategy at the institute, told the Global Times on Friday.
He said the expedition is similar to the previous ones, but several new devices will be used this time.
These devices will examine China's current technology on marine observation and make contributions to supervising the Arctic waters, thepaper.cn reported, but failed to reveal details of these devices.
The expedition will emphasize on scientific investigation about the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea and areas with circumpolar latitude in the Arctic Ocean, said the statement.
The statement said this expedition will help scientists have a better understanding of marine hydrology and ecology, the distributive characteristics of marine creatures and thalassochemistry; provide basic material for the evaluation of the Arctic environment and climate; support research on Arctic pollution and its marine resources.
The ninth expedition also invited scientists from France and the US on marine environment.
The eighth expedition, which began in July 2017, carried out research on microplastics and ocean acidification, which are crucial to tackling pollution and the effects of global warming on the oceans.