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Korea’s icebreaker scheduled to sail to Antarctica in Dec.

May 19,2009
The Araon will be Korea’s first icebreaking research vessel when it is completed later this year. The ship is under construction at Hanjin Heavy Industries in Busan. Provided by the ministry
The government has completed recruiting the key crew members of what will become the first Korea-made icebreaking research vessel, according to the Land Ministry yesterday.

The government hopes the vessel, currently 88 percent complete, will enhance Korea’s research capability in the polar regions and help find a venue for Korea’s second research center in the Antarctic by 2012, the ministry said.

The ship is scheduled to set sail for Antarctica in December this year.

Kim Ik-su, 49, has been named as captain of the ship named Araon. He will be supported by three chiefs: chief engineer Seo Ho-seon, 48, first electronic engineer Shin Dong-seop, 38, and first electric engineer Kim Hi-su, 45.

The ministry said 21 rank-and-file sailors will join them after the government selects an outsourcing company next month.

The Araon, the first Korean icebreaker to be made locally, will be completed by the end of September, the ministry said.

The 6,950-ton vessel cost 103 billion won ($81.6 million) to build.

The government plans for the boat to be used for research activities at the Sejong Research Center, Korea’s first research center in the Antarctic, and the Arctic Research Station Dasan, Korea’s first in the Arctic, located in Ny-Alesund, Norway.

“We expect the ship to contribute to Korea becoming a marine powerhouse,” said the ministry.

The maximum velocity of the research ship is 12 knots, or 6.8 meters per second, the ministry said.



By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]




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