China’s new manned submersible to be used to explore South China Sea

China’s new manned submersible Shenhai Yongshi, or “deep sea warrior,” will be used to explore the biological resources and geological conditions in the South China Sea, a Chinese expert said Tuesday.

The submersible has passed a state safety test and is preparing for commissioning, the Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

“Shenhai Yongshi will be used in the South China Sea and help explore the biological and mineral resources in the deep sea,” Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

As deep sea exploration of the region begins, the submersible will also help identify the geological conditions, Chen said, adding that the explorations will be smooth as the submersible has already been tested in the South China Sea and is therefore familiar with its climate and ocean currents.

In October, the submersible, loaded on the Tansuo-1, finished its first deep sea testing mission in the South China Sea, and the manned submersible reached a depth of 4,500 meters to test its functions and performance during an over 50-day expedition, Xinhua reported.

Tang Leiping, senior engineer at the Shanghai Branch of the China Classification Society (CCS), told the Xinhua News Agency on Monday that no safety risks were found in the submersible’s parts or components.

“The CCS safety approval will allow the machine to be insured, take part in international activities and scientific exploration,” he said.

Tang said the submersible will complete an annual safety test after it is put into service.

The development of the submersible took eight years 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.