Maritime authority to boost capabilities

Updated: 2013-07-10 08:09

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

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 Maritime authority to boost capabilities

Coast guard personnel in Jiangsu province participate in an anti-terrorism drill near the estuary of the Yangtze River. Su Hongfeng / for China Daily

Plan emphasizes coordination among various departments

China's maritime authority is to boost its law enforcement capability with the allocation of some 16,300 marine police officers to safeguard maritime rights and interests, according to an official document published on Tuesday.

The plan authorizes the State Oceanic Administration to take on expanded responsibilities regarding marine law enforcement, while the newly formed China Maritime Police Bureau, which falls partly under the SOA's control, will be responsible for deploying and commanding police officers.

Approved by the State Council in June, the plan highlights the expanded duties of maritime law enforcement, improving the protection and utilization of oceanic resources and better safeguarding China's maritime rights.

The Maritime Police Command Center, a department under the SOA, will give orders to the maritime police bureau, draw up law enforcement regulations and organize daily training, but the bureau will also be under the "operational direction" of the Ministry of Public Security.

The maritime police bureau has three branches - the North Sea Branch, the East Sea Branch and the South Sea Branch - with 11 corps allocated throughout China's coastal provinces and regions.

The bureau will unify multiple marine forces, including China Maritime Surveillance, the Ministry of Public Security's coast guard, the Ministry of Agriculture's fisheries law enforcement command and the maritime anti-smuggling authorities of the General Administration of Customs.

Meng Hongwei, vice-minister of public security, has been named chief of the country's maritime police, while Liu Cigui, director of the SOA, has been appointed political commissar.

Besides highlighting maritime law enforcement, the plan also emphasized coordination between the SOA and other ocean-related departments, such as the ministries of agriculture, transport and environmental protection.

It said the SOA and the Environment Ministry should establish systems of communication to jointly investigate cases of severe pollution.

The SOA has so far not commented on the new arrangements.

Liu Shuguang, deputy dean of China Ocean University's Marine Development Institute, applauded the move to solve problems related to inefficient maritime law enforcement and to enhance coordination between departments.

"Things on the sea are just as complicated as on the ground and need joint efforts," he said. "The plan shows the restructured administration will strengthen cooperation with other departments."

The SOA was reorganized in March as part of broad institutional reforms involving departments such as the former State Food and Drug Administration, the Ministry of Health and the National Energy Administration.

(China Daily USA 07/10/2013 page5)