Sergej Goncharov Nov. 11, 2014, 1:27 a.m.

Rise of the Snow dragon


China currently has not only potential for development of the Arctic, but real opportunities for it. I mean not only the technical preparedness for polar operations. China has now much better resource – people who has already got the real Arctic experience and capable for work and research both in Arctic and Antarctic oceans.

For example, the crew of the first Chinese Icebreaker Xue Long (Snow Dragon). The vessel made its first “stealth” voyage to the Canadian shores in the Arctic Ocean in the distant 1999. From The second Snow Dragon expedition in 2003 it became the main tool of Chinese scientific presence in the Arctic.

Also we can name the great voyage of Xue long in 2012 when it became the first Chinese ship which made trans-Arctic trip from China to Europe via Northern Sea Route.

In 2013-2014 the crew of Xue Long showed its courage and persistence in Akademik Shokalskiy rescue operation.

All of this made possible to appear the new sort of people in People`s republic of China – explorers of the Arctic. Among them we can see both men and women. One of them who sets an example is Baixiang-en (or Elizabeth) – a Chinese Marine officer.

She is extremely experienced both in Arctic and Antarctic navigation. In addition to Xue Long operations she teaches students in Shanghai Maritime University. When the attendees of her lections listen about her exciting work in Polar waters they feel themselves ready to set-off in Arctic expedition.

Elizabeth modestly says that China needs to learn much about Arctic operations from Russia and Norway, for example. But when you listen from her about different plans for the second more capable Chinese icebreaker, research-projects, and polar stations, you fell that she is proud of them and being among the first Chinese Arctic explorers.