Beijing: A Chinese manned deep-sea submersible, expected to be handy for the country to explore minerals in the Indian Ocean, on Sunday successfully set a new national record when it reached a depth of 7,000 meters during a dive into the Pacific Ocean.
The Jiaolong, China's manned submersible named after a mythical sea dragon, succeeded in diving 7,015 meters below sea level during its fourth dive into the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The submersible carrying three oceanauts - Ye Cong, Liu Kaizhou and Yang Bo - conducted the dive.
The submersible would enable China to conduct scientific surveys in 70 percent of the world's seabed areas.
It was expected to be handy as China has gained approval to explore a 10,000 sq km polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an international seabed region of the southwest Indian Ocean.
The 15-year approval was secured by China from the International Seabed Authority (ISA). China also has obtained exclusive rights to prospect in a 75,000-square-km polymetallic nodule ore deposit in the east Pacific Ocean in 2001.
The three oceanauts sent greetings from the bottom of the blue sea to the three Chinese astronauts who successfully completed the country's first-ever manual space docking of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with the orbiting Tiangong-1 lab module.
"We wish for a great success of the manual docking and brilliant achievements in China's manned space and manned deep-sea dive causes," said the oceanauts.
"It has been proved during the four previous dives that the submersible is stable in function and the capabilities of the team performing the test dives are rising gradually," on-scene commander of the project Liu Feng said.
Mariana Trench was chosen for the experiment as it is the deepest part of the world's oceans.
"The mission of the sea dive test is to find problems and solve them before the submersible is to put into practical use," said Liu Xincheng, the chief of the ruling Communist Party China, who is in-charge of the project.
Jiaolong was taken to the Mariana Trench by its oceanographic ship on June 11 and has been attempting the series of dives since then.
The submersible succeeded in diving 5,188 meters below sea level in the Pacific Ocean last summer making China the fifth country after US, France, Russia and Japan, to send a manned dive over 3,500 meters below sea level.
US movie director James Cameron descended almost 11,000 metres to the bottom of the Mariana Trench earlier this year.
First Published: Sunday, June 24, 2012, 09:04