A Chinese survey ship of the Xiang Yang Hong category, translated as ‘Facing the Red Sun’, with the serial number 03 has been discovered in the Indian Ocean. The ship is suspected of mapping the bottom of the ocean for strategical purposes. The ship has also caused an uproar with the Indonesian government for sailing on Indonesia’s sovereign waterways without announcing its existence or intentions. Furthermore, upon researching the ship’s history, it has been found that this is not the ship’s first voyage in the Indian Ocean that it went on secretly. Yet more Chinese ships are also present in the Indian Ocean marking the seabed.
The ship’s survey radius is estimated to have mapped around an area 5,00,000 square km already and is continuing to do so. The data collected by the ship can be used for both peaceful purposes, as well as naval.
Four other Xiang Yang Hong category research ships have been working constantly for the last 2 years in the Indian Ocean, seemingly under the State Oceanic Administration. All ships were built recently and have the latest equipment and technology, allowing them to operate efficiently.
A MUST READ #Exclusive where we at #TheIntelLab along with @CovertShores dive into the #IndianOcean & #BayOfBengal tracking & decoding how #China's research vessels have been map this strategic seabed https://t.co/bALmBnlOOn
— d-atis☠️ (@detresfa_) January 22, 2021
Two of the ships have been busy going over the Ninetyeast Ridge. It is an underwater mountain range that goes across the Indian Ocean. The ships keep sailing back and forth across the range, reaching the end and then starting back parallel to each other. Till now, the two ships have gone through multiple cycles.
The Chinese Navy has been increasing its submarine capability and already has a strong submarine fleet so geographical knowledge of the Indian Ocean could offer great advantages for them as submarines will be able to navigate more accurately with higher chances of maintaining stealth.