A South China base for deep-sea research vessels is under discussion and pending approval for completion in Hainan Province by 2019, project organizers said on Thursday. [Special coverage]
The deep-sea port will be located in the Nanshangang region of Sanya, according to a plan released by the Hainan commerce department on March 13.
Government departments are negotiating with companies about the South China project, a staff member at Sanya Creative Industry Park told the Global Times on Thursday.
At an estimated cost of 560 million yuan ($85.6 million), construction is expected to complete by 2019 when the base will be able to accommodate five research vessels ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 tons.
The port will act as the southern base for seven research vessels owned by the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Sciences, as well as the manned submersible Shenhai Yongshi, or Deep Sea Warrior.
It will also provide logistical support for domestic marine research vessels. The submersible can descend to 4,500 meters, Xinhua News Agency reported.
"Echoing the national deep sea base in north, the new base will firstly serve research work in the South China Sea, as well as for other sea areas such as the southeastern Indian Ocean," Lin Qi, a research assistant at the research center for Marine Science of National Institute for South China Sea Studies in Hainan, told the Global Times.
China's first national deep-sea base, located in the coastal city of Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province, went into operation in 2015, Qilu Evening News reported.
Deep-sea vessels wanting to conduct research in the South China Sea or southeastern Indian Ocean must currently make the arduous journey from Qingdao, Lin said.
The new base in Sanya will also enhance tourism and science popularization, according to Lin.