The manned submersible Shenhai Yongshi is scheduled to carry out 50 maritime expeditions into the deep sea in 2018 for research that analysts say is mainly for scientific purposes.
The manned submersible is expected to complete 50 missions in the South China Sea and southwest Indian Ocean this year, staff from the Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said. Six of them will carry out archaeological research in the South China Sea, Science and Technology Daily reported on Wednesday.
Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Thursday that the deep-sea expeditions in the South China Sea will mainly explore biological and mineral resources.
The expeditions by the Shenhai Yongshi have more of a symbolic meaning for scientific research than a political one, Chen said.
After tests, the Shenhai Yongshi is now in a "safe position" to begin its voyage, he added.
The Shenhai Yongshi went to a depth of 4,500 meters to test its functions and performance during a 50-day expedition in the South China Sea in October 2017, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The submersible took eight years to develop and involved more than 90 Chinese organizations and companies. Currently in service is China's manned submersible Jiaolong, which set a record by diving 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.
The manned submersible Shenhai Yongshi has set a foundation for China to manufacture full sea deep manned submersibles, which refers to manned submersibles capable of diving over 10,000 meters.