SHANGHAI, April 9 (UPI) -- China says it plans for a new icebreaker, now in the design stage, to be ready to begin polar research operations in 2014.
The home-produced vessel will team up with the Xue Long -- Snow Dragon -- currently China's only icebreaker, which was purchased from the Ukraine in 1993.
The Xue Long recently returned to its base in Shanghai after completing its 28th expedition to the Antarctic, officials from the Polar Research Institute of China said.
The new vessel would be designed by China in consultation with other countries with greater experience in icebreakers and built in China, institute officials said.
"It will be a real icebreaker, since Xue Long was a transport ship converted for polar work," Weng Lixin told the Shanghai Daily.
"The new icebreaker will be equipped with the most advanced appliances for marine, polar and astronomical research," Weng said.