|People greet the return of scientific
research ship "Dayang Yihao" in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province,
yesterday, after 300 days of exploration at sea. (Inset): Crew member
Huang Weitang meets his son Huang Zeyuan. (Photo: China
BEIJING, Jan. 23 -- China's first scientific research
ship to circumnavigate the globe returned home yesterday after 300 days at sea.
The mission has fulfilled the
long-held Chinese dream to make a transoceanic voyage, and also brought back
more than 1,000 kilograms of hydrothermal sulfide samples containing copper,
zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver.
Setting off from East China's coastal city Qingdao
last April, "Dayang Yihao (Ocean No 1)" travelled 43,230 nautical miles (79,975
kilometres), first visiting the Pacific and then sailing across the Atlantic
through the Panama Canal. It then travelled to the Indian Ocean, rounding the
Cape of Good Hope before continuing back to the Pacific through the Straits of
"The distance is the equivalent to circling the
equator twice," said Lu Huisheng, 40, captain of the vessel.
The expedition was divided into six working trips
with five stopovers, including Micronesia, Mexico, South Africa and Singapore
for supplies of fuel, drinking water and fresh food.
Chinese scientists on board have gathered many rock
samples, monitored and mapped out the ocean floor for future deep-sea mining
operations and also conducted deep-sea biological research such as
investigating, collecting and classifying sea life samples.
Han Xizhu, assistant to the chief scientist in the
trip, said studies on the distribution of hot liquid sulfides on the sea floor
have been undertaken in a bid to accumulate data for further development and
"First-hand data of life formations near thermal
vents are also a focus of the research mission, as biological gene study in this
extreme environment may help with the fight against human diseases," she said.
Marine analysts said the trip marks the first step in
the efforts of Chinese scientists to expand their reach to all major oceanic
areas and to transform their focus from field research of mineral and biological
resources to all-purposes studies, including advanced equipment testing and
About 120 scientific researchers, including several
scientists from the United States and Germany, took part in the mission.
Among them there were only two females, Han one of
"Life aboard a research ship is not normal," she
said. "You've got to work, work and work and there is no perception of time,
even though the days on the calendar change."
(Source: China Daily)