Marine Log

December 26, 2006

Korea to build ice-breaking research ship

Korea has chosen Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., the nation's seventh-largest shipyard, as the preferred bidder for the country's first ice-breaking research ship.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Hanjin Heavy Industries plan to ink a formal contract this month,

Once the deal is sealed, Hanjin Heavy Industries is to spend 100 billion won ($107.7 million) to build the research icebreaker by 2009, the ministry said.

The ship will be 109 meters long and 19 meters wide, with a capacity for up to 85 people on board. It will be able to sail at 16 knots an hour, or 3 to 4 knots hourly while breaking 1-meter thick ice, the ministry said.

The ship will be put into use for research on biological resources and climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. It will also be used in the construction of Korea's second research center in Antarctica, which is slated to begin in 2009.

Korea has been operating its first Antarctic research center, the King Sejong Base, on King George Island since 1988.

Out of 20 countries running research centers in the Antarctic, only Korea and Poland do not own ice-breaking ships.