Photo taken on Feb. 6, 2016 shows the Chinese icebreaker "Xuelong", or Snow Dragon, stops at the McMurdo Sound on the Ross Sea in Antarctica.(Xinhua/Zhu Jichai)
ABOARD XUELONG, Antarctica, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, rounded off its second tour around Antarctica on Saturday.
The 75-day trip of over 18,000 nautical miles was also the research vessel's first counterclockwise voyage around the ice-covered continent.
During the tour, Xuelong, which is on its 32nd expedition mission, made a stopover at the Great Wall Station on the King George Island, China's first Antarctic station on the continent, and revisited Chile's Port of Punta Arenas after 16 years.
On Feb. 6, the icebreaker arrived at the southernmost point of the tour -- also the southernmost point ever reached by a Chinese vessel -- at 77.47 degrees south latitude and 166.16 degrees east longitude in the Ross Sea, where expeditioners examined the area in search of possible locations of China's fifth Antarctic research station.
On Feb. 21, Xuelong docked at Australia's Casey Station, bringing it 392 tons of supplies the Australian side had requested the Chinese vessel to help transport under the Antarctic research cooperation framework between the two countries.
After returning to China's Zhongshan Station on Saturday, Xuelong will sail to the sea area west of the Prydz Bay for more research work. It is scheduled to conclude its mission and set sail for home on March 10.