China to Build Largest, Electric Powered Research Vessel

new Chinese marine research vessel

Published Mar 22, 2021 6:18 PM by The Maritime Executive

In its latest effort to expand its presence in maritime operations, China announced that it plans to build its largest maritime scientific research vessel. China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and the Guangdong Institute of Intelligent Unmanned System agreed to build the vessel. Reportedly they plan to deploy the ship in the South China Sea.

To be built in China’s southern Guangdong Province at CSSC’s Guangzhou Shipyard International, the vessel is to be fitted with an electric propulsion system. The ship will reportedly have a displacement of more than 10,100 tons. Measures were reported at 383 feet in length with a 69-foot beam and a draft of 18 feet.

The ship will feature several advanced technologies including a DP2 dynamic positioning system. The hull will be rated for B-level ice operations and the ship will have a unique 360-degree view from its bridge and control center.

According to the Chinese authorities, the construction of the vessel will enable multi-disciplinary marine scientific investigations to be conducted and expand China's marine scientific research capabilities. The vessel will be outfitted with a broad range of scientific exploration equipment and supporting operation equipment such as multi-beam, single-beam, thermohaline, and depth sounding. 

China is currently believed to be operating approximately 60 vessels which they report were commissioned for scientific research. The types of research range from geophysical exploration to seismic acquisition and processing.

The institute that will operate the vessel when completed is a public organization operated by the Shenyang Institute of Automation. The institute is reportedly a partnership between the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Guangzhou city government, and the Administrative Committee of Guangzhou's Nansha Development Zone.

No details were offered on the timeline for the construction and commissioning of the new vessel.