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University sponsored vessel set to study seas
By LI WENFANG in Guangzhou | China Daily | 
Sun Yat-sen University, the eponymous name of the research vessel commissioned by the university, was lowered into the water for the first time in Shanghai on Aug 28, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

A comprehensive scientific research and student training ship commissioned by Guangzhou, Guangdong province-based Sun Yat-sen University was lowered into the water for the first time at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on Friday.

Measuring 114.3 meters in length, Sun Yat-sen University, the eponymous name of the research vessel, has a displacement of 6,800 metric tons with a maximum speed of 16 knots. It can sail more than 15,000 nautical miles in a single voyage and sustain 60-day expeditions, accommodating 100 crew and researchers.

It's the largest scientific research ship in China with student training, and boasts leading comprehensive scientific capacity and design innovation, said Wu Gang, chief designer of the vessel.

Apart from the onboard laboratory facilities measuring 760 square meters, the quarterdeck can accommodate more than 10 container-style lab modules, said Zhang Wenlong, chief construction engineer of the ship, at the ceremony marking the event. It also has a helipad.

Equipped with advanced scientific devices, the ship's labs can process, test and analyze samples and data, said Sun Dongbai, executive vice-president of the university.

The vessel also meets the latest international emissions standards. The ship is expected to make its first trial voyage by the end of this year and will be ready for official duties next year.

Based on national oceanic strategy, the university has been stepping up related scientific and technological innovation and high-end talent training, said Chen Chunsheng, Party secretary of the university.

Back in 1928, the university carried out research around the Xisha Islands. In the 1960s, the university took the initiative of conducting research on marine biological compounds, thus pioneering the study of ocean-based pharmaceuticals.

Since the university launched a plan in 2016 to conduct research in the South China Sea, it has carried out eight voyages, covering 13,830 nautical miles and with 205 teachers and students onboard.

Mankind's understanding of the oceans lags far behind that of even outer space because of insufficient research equipment and talent, said Chen Dake, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The new vessel is set to play an important role in understanding, developing and safeguarding the oceans, he said.

Sun Yat-sen University is well positioned for ocean-related research as it is located in Guangdong province which faces the South China Sea, said Luo Jun, president of the university.

The school's administration recently decided to create a number of ocean-related academic disciplines on its campus in Zhuhai, another city in Guangdong. Data collected during the vessel's voyages can be processed by a supercomputer system-Tianhe-2-housed at the university, Luo said on Tuesday.

Regarding global cooperation, Luo said the university would invite qualified universities in other countries to also conduct research from the new vessel.

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