Patrol ship starts maiden voyage to Diaoyus

Updated: 2012-12-12 02:57

By WANG QIAN (China Daily)

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China's largest fishery patrol ship, the Yuzheng 206, started its maiden voyage from Shanghai to patrol waters near the Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday, according to the Regional Bureau of East China Sea Fishery Management of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Analysts said the move showed China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.

Patrol ship starts maiden voyage to Diaoyus

The Yuzheng 206, China's largest fishery patrol ship, at port in Shanghai on Tuesday. The vessel embarked on its maiden voyage from Shanghai on Tuesday to patrol waters near the Diaoyu Islands, showing China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty over the islands. [Photo/Xinhua]

"The new fishery patrol ship is a sign that the country is strengthening its marine power to protect its sovereignty," said Yang Bojiang, a professor of Japanese studies at the University of International Relations in Beijing.

The Yuzheng 206, with a full load displacement of 5,872 metric tons and around 130 meters long, is one of the largest and most advanced fishery patrol vessels in China, the bureau said. But no further details were given about the patrol.

Zhao Xingwu, director of the ministry's Fishery Administration, said at the ship's maiden voyage ceremony in Shanghai on Tuesday that the Yuzheng 206 will play a positive role in regular patrols of the waters near the Diaoyu Islands, strengthening the country's law enforcement capacity and better protecting fishermen's safety.

Yang applauded the move and said China enhanced its offshore law enforcement capacity recently after Japan's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands.

"We sent fishery patrol and marine surveillance vessels regularly to the islands' waters and built more ships, which reflects China's policy on the Diaoyu Islands," he said.

Fishery patrol ships are mainly used to protect Chinese fishermen's interests and detect illegal fishing activity, and marine surveillance ships are mainly used to supervise water usage and protect the marine environment and maritime interests.

According to the State Oceanic Administration, in November, two 3,000-ton marine surveillance ships joined the China Marine Surveillance fleet to patrol the country's waters.

Routine patrols of the East China Sea have been intensified by China Marine Surveillance and the Fishery Administration since September, when Japan announced its illegal "purchase" plan.

"It is Japan who wants to open a Pandora's box, and we are asserting our sovereignty," Yang said, adding that beefing up the country's marine power is just one way to do so.

Liang Yunxiang, professor of international relations at Peking University, said that China and Japan both realize that demonstrating their power in the Diaoyu Islands dispute has evolved from fleet numbers to competition in technology and vessel durability. The Chinese government intends to make patrols of the waters around the Diaoyu Islands a long-term routine.

A CMS insider told China Daily that the number of marine surveillance ships will surge amid the challenge of complicated marine disputes.

Fishery Administration figures showed that by the end of 2010, China had 2,287 fishery administration ships, while the CMS had more than 300 inspection ships to carry offshore law enforcement missions as of 2011, according to a CMS report.

Pu Zhendong contributed to this story.

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