WUHAN, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- A new mothership for China's manned submersible Jiaolong successfully took to water in the central city of Wuhan on Saturday.
Shenhai Yihao (DeepSea No. 1) is a comprehensive scientific expedition vessel as well as the country's first self-developed, specially designed mothership for a manned submersible.
It is expected to greatly improve the diving capacity of Jiaolong by lending support including on-site analysis of data and specimen, according to the ship's manufacturer Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.
The vessel measures 90.2 meters long and 16.8 meters wide. With a designed displacement tonnage of 4,500 tonnes, it has a cruising capacity of over 12,000 nautical miles, according to Chen Tao, board chairman of the ship builder.
Compared with other motherships for manned submersible in the world, Shenhai Yihao boasts larger lab space, lower underwater noise levels and new environmentally friendly designs, said experts at the launch ceremony.
The ship is expected to be put into service in the first half of 2019, setting off global voyages together with Jiaolong.
Jiaolong set a world record by diving to a depth of 7,062 meters during tests in the Mariana Trench in 2012. Its current mothership, 40-year-old Xiangyanghong 09, has carried Jiaolong for hundreds of dives since 2009.