China plans to build a new and improved icebreaker for polar expeditions.
Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration's Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, told Xinhua on Sunday that designs for the vessel were in the process after gaining official approval.
Currently, china's icebreaker, Xue Long (also known as Snow Dragon) had been trapped by heavy floes since it rescued passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica. Today, AMSA confirmed that both the Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long have broken free from the ice in Antarctica and are no longer in need of assistance.
"The new icebreaker will be shorter and be equipped with blades both at the bow and the stern, which will be able to open ice 1.5 meters thick," said Qu.
Designed mainly for field research instead of transporting supplies, the new icebreaker will also have a better power system, larger decks and laboratories. It will be a "mobile research station," said Qu, according to the Global Times