Guam – China’s submersible, Jiaolong, made its first dive into the Mariana Trench this morning, Friday, according to a report from the state run news agency Xinhua.
The news service reports that the dive began at 9 am and the Jiaolong reached a depth of 6,000 meters about noon today.
The first dive was delayed several days due to tropical storm “GuChao.”
Today’s dive is the first of a series of six scheduled ones leading up to a 7,000 meter dive which would be the deepest-ever manned dive by a Chinese team.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told PNC News that the Chinese are diving in an area of the Mariana Trench that lies within the waters of the Federated States of Micronesia, in the area of the Challenger Deep, which is the deepest known area of all the world’s oceans.
The Challenger Deep lies south of the U.S. administered Mariana Trench National Marine Monument, which falls under the jurisdiction of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Project Leader Susan White told PNC News that they, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA are aware of the Chinese expedition and are monitoring it.
[L-R: The 3 divers manning the Jiaolong are Cui Weicheng, Ye Cong and Yang Bo. (Xinhua/Luo Sha)]
In March, Canadian film maker and explorer James Cameron’s made a solo dive to the very bottom of the Challenger Deep. A feat first achieved in 1960 when the bathyscaphe “Trieste” went to the bottom with U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh and Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard aboard.