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On Thursday the "Dayang Yihao (Ocean No.1)", ship with 145 scientists aboard has set sail for the Pacific, starting a 250-day expedition.
According to Wang Fei, deputy chief of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), the 20th expedition, has the largest complement of scientists, who were drawn from 24 domestic scientific and educational institutions.
According to Tao Chunhui, chief scientist for the expedition, the mission will focus on subjects ranging from deep-sea environment, sulphide in seabed hydrothermal activity in the Pacific, bio-genes and biodiversity in the Indian Ocean.
The vessel is scheduled to return to Qingdao, a port city in east China, late January, 2009.

Source: Xinhua

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The scientific research ship "Dayang Yihao" ("Ocean No. 1") set off on Monday from the eastern coastal city of Qingdao. Part of the trip will be led by Han Xiqiu, an ocean scientist and China's first female chief scientist for scientific exploration of the sea.

"The 220-day journey will consist of six different phases, and each phase will have its own chief scientist" - 38-year-old Han, who is a renowned researcher on sea floor science with the Second Institute of Oceanography of the State Oceanic Administration.

Han will board the ship before the Spring Festival, China's lunar New Year which is to fall on February 18 this year, when the ship is in the Indian Ocean.
Researchers will monitor and map the ocean floor for deep-sea mining operations and conduct deep-sea biological research. The research will cover the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean, the southwest Pacific Ocean and the western part of the Pacific Ocean.

Source Xinhua

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China's first research ship to circumnavigate the globe returned from its 18th voyage yesterday, docking in East China's coastal city of Xiamen to give the public a chance to understand more about what it does.

The latest mission lasted for 86 days and focused on the northern Pacific Ocean. It was a follow-up voyage for last year's first-ever round-the-world oceanic research mission, and it brought back more than 800 kilograms of mineral deposits, most of which are rich in cobalt.
Setting off from East China's coastal city Qingdao in mid-May, Dayang Yihao (Ocean No. 1) travelled 13,080 nautical miles.
Chief Scientist Chu Fengyou said studies on the distribution of valuable minerals on the ocean floor were carried out "to accumulate accurate data for future deep-sea mining operations, and results will be submitted to the United Nations for the benefit of all mankind."

He said the further exploration of marine resources for better recognition, utilisation and protection of the ocean is one of the key necessities of scientific development worldwide, and the Chinese Government is carrying out its international obligations to meet rising demands from society for oceanic development.
The UN International Seabed Authority granted China the right to conduct exploration work in a 150,000-square-kilometre area of international waters in 1991 and the nation acquired a contract area of 75,000 square kilometres in the region for exclusive and priority exploration years later, after it gave the rights to the other half back to the UN.
"Dayang Yihao" will leave Xiamen today for new journeys in the South China Sea and, according to Captain Lu Huisheng, more major voyages are scheduled for the latter part of the year and next year.

"The new missions will focus on the southern Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean" - Captain Lu Huisheng.

The 5,600-ton Dayang Yihao, which boasts the most advanced deep-sea research equipment in the world, has travelled 260,000 nautical miles in total, equivalent to circling the equator 12 times.
Hundreds of Xiamen citizens took the opportunity to visit the ship yesterday, the first time it has opened to the Chinese public outside Qingdao. Crew and scientists were on board to explain the workings of the ship, provide demonstrations of equipment and answer questions.

"This is a great chance for families to learn about our oceans and how real working scientists on board live" - Chu Fengyou.

There are more than 10 laboratories on board the ship, which are devoted to research of gravity, ocean currents, magnetism, seism, comprehensive electrons, geology and biological genes.
Huang Qijie, an 11-year-old primary schoolboy, said he enjoyed the high-tech show very much, and was particularly amazed at the visual deep-sea sampling system that can transmit topographic photographs from 6,000 metres underwater to the surface and can take mineral and biological samples on the ocean floor.

"If possible, we want to invite people of all ages to come out and see what we are doing with the ocean. However, we did manage to open our doors in Micronesia and Jamaica during last year's global voyage" - Captain Lu Huisheng, noting that the ship is usually too busy to be available for the general public to visit.

Source China Daily

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The Dayang Yihao (Ocean No 1) scientific research ship returned home yesterday after 300 days at sea.

The mission brought back more than 1,000 kilograms of hydrothermal sulphide samples containing copper, zinc and precious metals such as gold and silver.

The ship set off from Qingdao last April, and 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 Malacca.



"The distance is the equivalent to circling the equator twice" - Lu Huisheng, 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 gathered 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 sulphides on the sea floor have been undertaken in a bid to accumulate data for further development and exploitation.

"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" Han Xizhu.

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 professional training.
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 them.

"Life aboard a research ship is not normal. You've got to work, work and work and there is no perception of time, even though the days on the calendar change"- Han Xizhu.

Source: China Daily

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On December 18, Chinese scientists for the first time successfully obtained samples of hydrothermal sulphide and life forms living near a deepwater hydrothermal vent during an expedition in the Indian Ocean.
They detected unusual salinity and turbidity at longitude 7024' east and latitude 2519' south, and used undersea cameras to observe many organisms including sea anemone and shrimps living along the 2,400 meters mid-ocean ridges there.
This indicated the existence of a nearby hydrothermal vent, or "black smoker."
The scientists then obtained the 45-kilogram sample of hydrothermal sulphide using remote controlled equipment.

According to Guo Shiqin, chief scientist of the Ocean No.1 mission, this is the first time for them to see such good piece of hydrothermal sulphide.
One of the minerals produced through deep-sea hydrothermal activity, the hydrothermal sulphide contains many non-ferrous metals including bronze and zinc and may one day provide a substitute for land mineral resources.

Research into life forms living in deep-sea hydrothermal environments could also be of great scientific and economic value, due to their ability to resist extreme pressures, temperatures and viruses.
Ocean No.1 is China's top marine research ship, weighing 5,600 tons and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.
It departed from Cape Town in South Africa at 2 PM on November 23 for China's first scientific expedition in the Indian Ocean, scheduled to last more than 40 days and travel over 6,000 sea miles.

As well as obtaining samples of hydrothermal sulphide and life forms, the expedition aims to conduct geological, geophysical and geochemical research into the Indian Ocean mid-ocean ridge and look for new hydrothermal regions.
Ocean No.1 will also travel near Indonesia's Sumatra Island where the severe earthquake-triggered tsunami took place last year and collect data on the area's terrain, active fault structure, sediment and volcano.

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China launched its first ever round-the-world ocean research mission on April 2nd 2005 to search the seas for new forms of life.
Its top research ship, the Dayang Yihao (Ocean No 1), will visit the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean after setting off from Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province.

The mission is planned to last for 300 days, with the ship returning to Qingdao next January. A total of 72 people will be on board for the first phase, among which 30 are ordinary seamen and 42 are scientific researchers.



The Ocean No 1 has finished the initial phase of the country's first round-the-world ocean research mission after collecting a large number of data and seabed samples.
Part of that mission involved a joint mission by Chinese and US scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Divers entered the US Navy-owned Deep Submergence Vehicle, and Chinese scientists collected deep-sea hydrothermal fluid samples, and micro and sea floor sediment samples at depths ranging from 2,200 to 4,500 metres.

"The samples and data will greatly boost the research work in biology and geosciences" - Wang Chunsheng, marine biologist with the Second Institute of Oceanography under the State Oceanic Administration.

After setting off on April 2 from Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province, 30 crew members and 42 scientific researchers conducted research on the Pacific Ocean using state-of-the-art equipment aboard the 5,600-ton ship.
They collected a large number of seabed mine plants, fish and other sea life that can be used in biological research.
In addition, deep-sea marine data was recorded by a 5,000-metre-long anchor system.

"The mission gives researchers their best opportunity to test China's latest self-developed marine technology and to develop a group of ocean professionals" - Wang Chunsheng.

The Ocean No 1 reached Acapulco de Juarez in Mexico earlier this month via Hawaii and then returned home.
The second phase, involving the Atlantic and Indian oceans, will begin later this month, travelling from Jamaica to South Africa. The ship will return to Qingdao in February.

"The round-the-world scientific research mission not only realizes the long-term dream of Chinese ocean circles for sailing the three oceans, but also will write a new and brilliant page for the development history of China's ocean undertaking" - Wang Chunsheng.



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