Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Ocean research vessel to start trial run on Monday

VOYAGE OF LEARNING:While ‘Legend’ is not starting its official mission until next month, it has a series of tasks lined up to test the vessel and its instruments

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Legend (勵進), Taiwan’s newest and largest ocean research vessel, is to begin sailing around the nation on a trial run on Monday, conducting studies before embarking on its official mission next month, the Taiwan Ocean Research Institute said yesterday.

Built by Singaporean-based Triyards Marine Services at its Vietnamese shipyard at a cost of NT$880 million (US$28.66 million at the current exchange rate), the 2,629-tonne vessel was inaugurated at Kaohsiung’s Banana Pier (香蕉碼頭) on May 23 by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which announced at the time that it would embark on its official mission next month.

As the ship might enter another nation’s territorial waters on its first mission, the institute is still negotiating with other nations, institute director Wang Chau-chang (王兆璋) said, but added that crewmembers would conduct other tasks first to test its instruments.

After setting off from Tainan’s Anping Port (安平) on Monday, Legend is to sail to Taitung County to collect data at a Ministry of Economic Affairs deep ocean water extraction site, an institute member said on condition of anonymity, adding that the ministry had asked the institute to help inspect its underwater tubes, which have failed to extract seawater over the past few years.

It would then sail to Yilan County to help the Central Weather Bureau inspect its Matsu Project’s (媽祖計畫) underwater cables — a program to collect seismic data in deep water, the member said.

Its next stop would be Keelung coast, where crewmembers would try to search for the remains of a Dassault Mirage 2000 jet, which was lost in a crash in November last year, the member said.

If time allows, the vessel would also visit the waters off Changhua County to gather information about wind turbine installations before it returns to Anping Port at the end of this month, the member added.

The institute is to allow the public to visit the vessel when it is anchored at Hualien Port (花蓮港) on Saturday and Sunday next week, and at Keelung Port (基隆港) on Aug. 25 and 26, Wang said.

“People residing in the east have fewer opportunities to visit the nation’s major scientific facilities,” although they also contribute to the nation’s taxes, he said.

The institute plans to make it an annual event to let the public know more about the ocean, he added.

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