According to China Daily, the Xuelong 2, or Snow Dragon 2, is Beijing’s first icebreaker, which is a special-purpose ship designed to navigate through ice-filled waters and provide accessible waterways for other ships and boats.
“The significant features that make the icebreaker different from other vessels are its strengthened hull to resist ice waters, a specially designed ice-clearing shape to make a path forward and extreme power to navigate through sea ice,” Marine Insight explains on its website.
A ceremony for the Xuelong 2 recently took place at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, China, according to reports. The ship was designed collaboratively between the Finnish engineering firm Aker Arctic and the Marine Design and Research Institute of China in Shanghai.
The icebreaker, which is 122.5 meters long, 22.3 meters wide and has a displacement of almost 14,000 tons, will be able to conduct both geological and biological experimentation and surveying in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, UPI reported. In addition, the ship features two-direction icebreaking abilities and can sail on two-month-long expeditions.
Zhao Zhenhua, the chief engineer of the icebreaker, told Asia Times that it took many sleepless nights to collate 7,891 blueprints for the vessel. The ship’s hull is about 50% thicker than a typical ship, while more than 7,000 “intelligent” sensory points were added to the vessel to gather information on friction and other data, which can be used to design future ships.
"Xuelong 2 will become a major platform for China's oceanic environmental survey and scientific research in the polar regions," said Qin Weijia, director of polar research at China's State Oceanic Administration, UPI reported.
In China’s Arctic Policy, published in June last year, Beijing introduced its plans to create a “Polar Silk Road” by extending Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative and by exploring shipping lanes opened by climate change, Reuters reported.