China’s first domestically built polar icebreaker will begin its maiden voyage in October from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, Xinhua reported.
The voyage for “Xuelong 2,” or “Snow Dragon 2,” will start during the seventh China Marine Economy Expo, which will run from Oct.14 to 17, according to Li Yuchun, deputy director of Shenzhen planning and natural resources bureau.
The expo will bring together more than 400 enterprises at home and abroad, including around 100 industry leaders or Fortune 500 companies, said Li.
On its maiden voyage, Xuelong 2 will sail for Antarctica together with “Xuelong,” the only Chinese icebreaker in service, in the country’s 36th research mission to the region, according to a previously announced plan.
The vessel is 122.5 meters long and 22.3 meters wide, with a displacement of 13,996 tonnes and a navigation capability of 20,000 nautical miles.
Xuelong 2 is able to turn quickly and has two-direction icebreaking capabilities with both its bow and stern. It can sail on 60-day expeditions to all regions of the globe, according to Hu Keyi, a technical director of Jiangnan Shipyard Group, the builder of the vessel.
“Xuelong 2 will become a major platform for China’s oceanic environmental survey and scientific research in polar regions,” said Qin Weijia, a director in charge of polar research with the State Oceanic Administration.
Meanwhile, according to Yicai Global, Swiss MSC Cruises’s MSC Bellissima, set to become the biggest ocean liner in Asia, will make its maiden voyage in China next year, kicking off a busy schedule.
Bellissima will carry out 35 cruises annually, stopping in Shanghai, Tianjin, Qingdao, and Shenzhen, after its first one in China departs on June 17, China News reported.
MSC Cruises will need to attract clients amid tough competition against Florida’s Royal Caribbean Cruises, as well as Carnival’s Princess Cruises, as the latter two have been cruising in Chinese waters for over 10 years.
It entered China in 2016 with MSC Lirica, followed by MSC Splendida in 2017. The success of these two ships has prompted the parent to activate MSC Bellissima, the report added.
The 316-meter-long MSC Bellissima has nearly 2,220 cabins and it can accommodate almost 5,700 passengers. The tonnage of the ship is 172,000, which is the largest among those that have berthed at Asian ports.
China has always been an important market for MSC Cruises, and the company is looking forward to bringing high-quality products, wisdom and experience repeatedly tested on the international market to the Chinese cruise industry, Achille Staiano, vice president of global sales at the Geneva-headquartered company, said in a statement.