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China Daily Website

Sea center looking for candidates

Updated: 2013-07-03 02:14
By WANG QIAN ( China Daily)

Increased frequency of deep-sea dives requires more trained crew

China will have six new oceanauts, including two women, before the end of November for its deep-sea exploration program, with the recruitment launched on Tuesday.

"Compared with Fu Wentao and Tang Jialing, the country's first two oceanauts, we have higher requirements for the new recruits, who must also be scientists, in the future dives," said Liu Baohua, deputy director of the National Deep Sea Center, at a news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

Besides lifting the male-only restriction, a longer list of requirements will be used to see if candidates suit the job.

Liu said candidates must meet 119 basic requirements including height, weight, age, good mental health and a wide range of knowledge of mechanical engineering and the ocean.

Other than age and height, Liu didn't mention other requirement differences between male and female oceanauts.

"If a person doesn't smell good, he or she is not qualified to be an oceanaut," Liu said. "Because of the small space of Jiaolong, the Chinese submersible, and the long hours they will spend in there, it would be a disaster."

Applicants can apply on the National Deep Sea Center's website from Tuesday to July 31.

"The selection process will last for about five months, and the final result will be released to the public in November," Liu said, adding that the salary for an oceanaut is "attractive" including subsidies for each dive, but didn't reveal the amount.

Wang Chengsheng, director of deep-sea diving operations for the center, told China Daily that for every dive, an oceanaut can get paid thousands of yuan in subsidies — much more than a typical university graduate's monthly salary of about 3,000 yuan ($484).

Wang said training an oceanaut is also costly and the investment could be as much as millions of yuan.

"With the fast development of the country's deep-sea exploration program, more oceanauts will be needed in the near future," Wang said, adding a deep-sea diving team consisting of eight oceanauts and 10 maintenance staff will be built.

Since Jiaolong reached a record depth of 7,062 meters in June last year in the Mariana Trench, the submersible has increased its frequency of deep-sea dive programs to three seagoing legs from June to September this year.

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