Tue, Apr 02, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Largest research vessel ‘Legend’ due back today

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

The nation’s largest research vessel, the Legend, is moored in the Port of Kaohsiung on May 23 last year.

Photo: Chien Hui-ju, Taipei Times

Researchers aboard the nation’s largest research vessel, the Legend (勵進), are to return today from a scientific expedition to the South China Sea to collect data on vertical temperature changes in the sea basin, the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) said yesterday.

The government has maintained a low profile when conducting missions in the area, given disputes arising from overlapping territorial claims from Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and China among others.

After setting off from Tainan’s Anping Port (安平港) on March 9, the 2,629-tonne vessel is to return to port today, concluding its 25-day mission that was aimed at measuring geological and weather conditions, promoting scientific collaboration and joint sea development, the NARL said.

The research team is made up of 19 crew members and 21 researchers from the NARL’s Taiwan Ocean Research Institute, the Naval Meteorological and Oceanographic Office, National Taiwan University and National Central University, it said.

The team measured the sea basin using the vessel’s multibeam echosounder and produced the first precise map of a 4,000m-high seamount in the center of the basin, it said, adding that the mount is 676km from southwestern Taiwan’s coast.

Researchers also found fragments of sedimentary strata near the seamount, allowing them to study if the collapse of a deep sea range might trigger a tsunami, it said.

They also measured the temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and wind speed on the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) and Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島), it said.

They obtained “unprecedented” data on vertical temperature changes near the center of the South China Sea Basin, in a range up to 20km in the air and 1,800m below the sea level, it said, adding that the data are valuable for boosting weather forecasting in the region.

The NARL said the team did not encounter any pressure from other countries during the mission.

The research vessel was built by Singaporean-based Triyards Marine Services at a cost of about NT$880 million (US$28.6 million at the current exchange rate) and was inaugurated in May last year.

It underwent 10 months of testing and trial runs before embarking on its first research mission, which was postponed from September last year to last month.

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