Maritime monitoring bolstered in South

Updated: 2012-05-10 07:37

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

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In order to better protect the country's maritime rights, another 36 inspection ships are expected to join the surveillance fleet by 2013, authorities said.

According to China Marine Surveillance, the 36 ships include seven vessels weighing 1,500 tons each, 15 1,000-ton ships, and the rest weigh 600 tons. The vessels will be distributed to 14 provinces, autonomous regions and cities along the country's coastline.

Construction started on Tuesday on 14 vessels weighing 600 tons each in Weihai, Shandong province, according to the marine policing agency.

An agency official who declined to be named told China Daily on Wednesday that the new vessels will enhance the country's ability to protect its maritime rights.

An insider told China Daily that Hainan province will build one 1,500-ton inspection ship and two 1,000-ton ones.

The number of sea disputes between China and other countries has surged recently.

Relations between China and the Philippines have been strained since a Philippine warship entered the Huangyan Island's territorial waters in the South China Sea, dispatched personnel to harass Chinese fishing boats and attempted to detain Chinese fishermen.

Beijing said the move infringed on China's sovereignty. Two Chinese patrol ships in the area later came to the fishermen's rescue, and the warship left, but the Philippine side continued to send government vessels to the lagoon of China's territorial island.

Authorities said they are prepared for any escalation of the situation by Manila.

Qi Jianguo, former Chinese ambassador to Vietnam, told China Daily that the island dispute shows the need for China to strengthen its maritime law enforcement capacity.

"The addition of the 36 new vessels means China is on its way to safeguarding the country's huge maritime territory," he said.

The CMS has about 300 marine surveillance ships, including 30 ships weighing more than 1,000 tons, and 10 planes, including four helicopters, to monitor marine affairs, as of May 2011.

According to statistics released by CMS in March, the supervision fleet monitored 966 foreign ships and flights in 2011 while protecting the country's marine rights and interests.