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"Nanhai No. 1" salvage project to be launched
Latest Updated by 2007-01-19 15:32:33
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On January 17, the salvage vessel "Nan Tian Shun" of the Guangzhou Salvage Bureau arrived at the Jiangyang sea area for the last investigation into the Nanhai No. 1 wreck. Salvage operations for the sunken Ming Dynasty ship will be officially launched this March.

This will be the biggest ever whole-ship salvage project in the world. The mysterious Nanhai No. 1 is expected to float on the water surface this June.

The missions of the Nan Tian Shun are to collect underwater treasures, to measure the length and width of the ancient ship, and to analyze soil samples, said Wang Renyi, Deputy Commander-in-Chief. A special box used for underwater repairs will be established according to the information provided by the Nan Tian Shun. 
Affected by the cold air over the sea, the Nan Tian Shun, with 51 crew on board, will begin its work two or three days later than scheduled. 

The Hua Tian Long, the biggest floating derrick in Asia, is responsible for the salvage of the Nanhai No. 1. The 4,000 ton deadweight derrick, now in Shanghai, 170m long and 48m wide, has successfully lifted up over 4,400 tons of stuff. 

According to estimates, the box weighs about 500 tons and the ancient wreck, with silt and water inside, weighs about 3,000 tons. So the Hua Tian Long may be the only derrick that can lift up the ancient ship.
This April or May, the Hua Tian Long will go to the site for salvaging, said Mr. Wang.

The Nanhai No. 1 salvage project is China's biggest marine archaeology project since the establishment of the People's Republic of China; the value and influence of the Nanhai No. 1 are expected to be no less than those of the terracotta warriors and horses of the Qin Dynasty.

From March to May 2002, a maritime archaeology team of the National Museum of China discovered over 6,000 treasures in a one-square-meter cabin.

Experts estimate that there will be 60,000 to 80,000 treasures underwater. The number of middle and high grade treasures is expected to equal that of all the collections of Guangdong's museums. Moreover, important evidence for the "Marine Silk Road" may be found.

The salvage of Nanhai No. 1 may promote the study of the "Marine Silk Road", experts said.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: english website
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