The Ministry of Science and Technology expects to receive two new research vessels — New Ocean Researcher 2 and New Ocean Researcher 3 — on Nov. 25, which would mark the launch of a policy to pay tribute to the oceans, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
The latest generation of ocean research vessels can be used for a wide range of research, from forecasting typhoons, improving aviation safety and surveying natural resources, Taiwan Ocean Research Institute Director Wang Chau-chang (王兆璋) told an Executive Yuan news conference in Taipei.
To obtain accurate data required for predicting the 48-hour trajectories of typhoons, buoys are deployed in the ocean, a task accomplished by using ocean research vessels, Wang said.
Photo courtesy of CSBC Corp
With the use of these vessels and technological support from France, the nation in June last year successfully sampled methane ice in its exclusive economic zone, corroborating a theory that the compound exists there, he said.
In addition, the institute and the Ministry of Economic Affairs in April and July launched expeditions to waters about 70km off the coast of Yilan County, where they found precious metals in a hydrothermal vent, including weaponizable rare-earth elements, he added.
With the help of ocean research vessel Legend, which was inaugurated last year, the flight recorder on a Mirage 2000 that went missing in 2017 was found, Wang said, adding that the data retrieved can be used to prevent future aviation accidents.
The ministry expects to receive the New Ocean Researcher 2 and the New Ocean Researcher 3 in Keelung and an inauguration ceremony will be held, he said.
Notably, the new vessels will be equipped with dynamic positioning systems that allow them to be locked in a range of 3 to 10m after anchored in the ocean, he added.
This would prevent the vessels from high winds and would enable them to engage in precise surveillance, Wang said.
Meanwhile, as with the Legend, the larger New Ocean Researcher 1, which will be delivered in the first quarter of next year, would have the capability to embark on lengthy missions that last up to 40 days without having to dock for refueling, he said.
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Shieh Dar-bin (謝達斌) said that the New Ocean Researcher 1’s later delivery date is due to its larger hull, which takes longer to build.
Taiwan is an “ocean nation,” and the next-generation ocean research vessels would signal the first step in paying tribute to the ocean, Su told a weekly Cabinet meeting.
If the nation understands the ocean, the ocean would come to its aid and make it stronger; conversely, if the nation does not know the ocean, it would be impeded by it, Su said.
Taiwan is blessed with abundant marine resources; therefore, the legislature earlier this month passed the Ocean Basic Act (海洋基本法), which sets legal parameters for oceanic scientific research and ecological preservation, he said.
The nation has reached a place in terms of development where it should respect, understand and use the oceans, which require long-term systemic implementation of policies and measures, he added.
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