Port construction kicks off to support research in South China Sea
The base will enable more complex tests to unfold in the deep sea area for national defense-related matters, according to Chinese sources.
Chinese sources reported on Monday that China has kicked off the construction of a port in the South China Sea to support deep-sea research in the area, a move that many experts believe will contribute to ocean-related research activities.
The construction of the China State Shipbuilding Corp's (CSSC) South China Sea test support base has begun on Wednesday in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, as per a statement issued by the company.
The statement added that the new port will serve to assist deep-sea research for all industries from several fields and support the construction of an advanced national defense industry system.
It also stated that the base will serve as a mooring station for key test vessels.
According to Song Zhongping, a Chinese TV commentator and defense expert, the base is due to host research vessels that will conduct detailed surveys on the South China Sea's environment, collect hydrologic information, and other research-related matters, he said as quoted by the Global Times.
The expert added that maritime conditions in the South China Sea are complex and the environment is constantly in a state of flux.
The base will therefore serve to develop better knowledge of these conditions and contribute to improving navigational safety, Song further said.
As for matters pertaining to national defense, Song said that the base will enable more complex tests to unfold in the deep sea area.
The opening ceremony which was held on Wednesday saw the first test vessels stationed at the base, namely the Beidiao 996 test ship, a catamaran developed by CSSC to solely support test missions in the South China Sea.
The Beidiao 996 ship is China's largest deep-sea test catamaran that can carry out multiple missions including scientific research, environmental surveys, and comprehensive support. In April 2022, the ship made its maiden trip from Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning Province to Sanya.
Further vessels are due to be tested on the base and be used for research upon the completion of the port, sources said.