Cross-province patrol begins in South China Sea
Updated: 2012-11-09 01:10
By WANG QIAN (China Daily)
5-day mission seeks to strengthen region's maritime law enforcement
China is strengthening its offshore law enforcement capacity, with three provinces and one autonomous region launching their first joint patrol in the South China Sea on Wednesday.
The five-day patrol fleet consists of ships from the maritime safety administrations of Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan. Haixun 31, one of China's largest patrol ships, is also part of the fleet.
An official surnamed Song from the Maritime Safety Administration said the cross-province patrol will become a regular occurrence to enhance the offshore supervision capacity, but revealed no details about future patrol plans.
At present, the Maritime Safety Administration will arrange two or three patrols in the South China Sea aimed at preventing illegal activities including discharging excessive pollutants into the sea.
Shen Chunsheng, deputy director of the Guangxi Maritime Safety Administration, said the joint patrol is expected to travel nearly 1,000 km to detect pollution discharged by ships.
The joint patrol will strengthen law enforcement capacity in the South China Sea to guarantee maritime safety, Shen added.
It is the latest move the country has taken to strengthen supervision of the South China Sea.
On Tuesday, the State Council approved a marine zoning plan for the southern provinces of Guangdong and Hainan before 2020, emphasizing offshore law enforcement capacity in both plans.
President Hu Jintao emphasized that the country's maritime interests should be strongly protected, as he opened the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Thursday.
China is preparing itself to deal with complicated marine disputes.
On July 24, Sansha city, Hainan province, the country's newest city, was established on Yongxing Island to administer the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and their surrounding waters.
Another 36 inspection ships are expected to join the China Marine Surveillance fleet by 2013.