Construction of two ships for marine research fleet underway

Taipei-A ceremony was held Friday to mark the beginning of construction of two 500-ton ships that will be mainstays of the new marine research fleet Taiwan is developing.

Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-gee (???), who is heading the project, said the two 500-ton ships are expected to be finished and delivered by mid-2019.

They will be equipped with new marine research tools that will benefit national land planning, the acquisition of knowledge about the ocean and marine life, and natural disaster investigation, he said.

Taiwan currently has three ships in its marine research fleet, all of which are more than two decades old. The oldest one, Ocean Researcher 1, has been in operation since 1984.

To modernize the fleet, the Ministry of Science and Technology is investing NT$1.6 billion (US$54.3 million) to build three new marine research ships at home.

Work on two of them -- the two 500-ton ships -- is now underway, and construction of the third vessel, a 1,000-ton ship, is expected to begin soon, Chen said.

It is the first time that a local company, in this case CSBC Corporation, Taiwan is taking on the task of building marine research vessels.

Taiwan will further bolster the new fleet with two ships purchased from abroad. One of them, the 2,000-ton "Legend," was purchased recently, while the other, a 3,000-ton vessel, will be procured in the future.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel