Designed to carry 60 people, the ship will boast advanced laboratories, data processing and information centers and other devices.
The "Zhang Jian" will serve as a mother ship to the manned submersible "Rainbow Fish" which is capable of diving to a depth of 11,000 meters, and will be used in general ocean expedition missions, deep-sea engineering, rescue and salvage, underwater archaeology and film shooting, said Cui Weicheng, head of the Hadal Research Center at Shanghai Ocean University.
The vessel is scheduled to float in June 2016. Chinese scientists will launch unmanned diving expeditions in the deepest area of the Pacific's Mariana Trench in 2016, and manned diving in this area in 2019, with the Rainbow Fish submersible and other deep-sea devices, the agency said.
China's manned submersible “Jiaolong” reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.