POHANG, Aug. 18 (Korea Bizwire) – Tamhae II is Korea’s only geophysical survey vessel. It was built in 1996, and has since engaged in various domestic and international exploration missions for underwater resources like petroleum and gas hydrate. Its other missions also included geological mapping of the ocean floor, and detecting risk factors for potential geological hazards.
More importantly, the vessel has helped Korea become self-reliant in exploration technology that used to be monopolized by a handful of developed nations.
Operated by the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGMR), the ship weighs 2,085 tons, and can carry up to 37 passengers.
Despite Tamhae II’s immense contribution to Korea’s scientific research, the vessel didn’t have its own exclusive docking facility, and had to make its temporary home in Changwon for the past decade. But with the recent establishment of a new KIGMR research institute in Pohang, the ship has finally found a home at a nearby port in the southeastern coastal city.
Tamhae II will now focus on the exploration of Korea’s East Sea Rim, and contribute to the institute’s research and development of geoscience and mineral resources around the area.
“Pohang’s coastal area has a high probability of coal and petroleum reserves with its wide and thick Cenozoic substratum,” said Pohang Mayor Lee Kang-deok. “Its geological conditions also imply rich mineral content with high economic value.”
“Using the city’s high-tech scientific infrastructure, we’ll develop Pohang into a pioneering research and development site for the marine industry,” he further added.
Meanwhile, the KIGMR also revealed Wednesday that it plans to start the construction process of Tamhae III (tentative) in 2018, and is awaiting government results of the new vessel’s validity assessment.
The new ship, according to the institute, will weigh some 5,000 tons and be equipped with eight arrays of 6-kilometer streamers (instruments that receive seismic waves). The current vessel has two arrays of 3-kilometer streamers.
“The new exclusive port will serve as an important outpost for our venture to secure future energy resources from the East Sea Rim and the Arctic Circle,” said Kim Gyu-han, director of KIGMR. “We’ll actively pursue our plans with the more advanced, upcoming survey vessel as well.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)