China on Thursday began its first saturation diving experiment in sea, aiming to reach 300 metres under water surface as part of its efforts to enhance expertise in deep sea exploration.
Six divers have began to pressurise a compression chamber in preparation for the dive near Shenzhen in south China, the Shanghai Salvage Company under the Ministry of Transport said.
Divers are scheduled to begin diving toward 300 meters under the sea on January 12 and stay under water for about 17 days, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Guo Jie, head of the experiment project, as saying.
Saturation diving was developed to allow divers to stay under water for a longer time and at a deeper sea level than with conventional techniques.
It is commonly used in deep sea exploration, in rescue operations at sea and in engineering construction at the bottom of the sea.
China had previously only conducted such experiments in laboratories.
The new experiment was part of China’s effort to develop expertise in underwater exploration.
Last October, China tested its underwater vehicle in the eastern Pacific.
According to China’s State Oceanic Administration the research vessel, “Haiyang-6,” conducted the tests near Hawaii. The autonomous underwater vehicle can travel 6,000 metres beneath the sea’s surface.
China has already developed its own manned submersible and remotely operated underwater vehicle.
The manned submersible “Jiaolong” set a record in June 2012 by reaching 7,062 meters deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench.