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China launches advanced patrol vessel

Updated: 2012-07-30 07:16
By Tan Zongyang ( China Daily)

China launched its largest and most advanced patrol vessel Haixun 01 on Saturday in Wuhan, Hubei province, as the nation steps up efforts to protect its marine sovereignty and enhance rescue efficiency on its coastal waters.

The new flagship is the first patrol vessel capable of completing both maritime surveillance and rescue missions, according to a statement from the Shanghai Maritime Bureau, which will manage the ship.

The vessel is responsible for cruising on China's territorial waters, searching and saving lives at sea,investigating maritime disputes, monitoring oil spills and conducting emergency disposals, the statement said, adding the vessel can also tow ships and put out fires on other boats.

China launches advanced patrol vessel

Haixun 01, the largest and most advanced patrol vessel in China, was launched in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Saturday. Wan Houde / Xinhua


The 5,418-ton ship is 128.6 meters in length. It can sail at speed of 37 km per hour, and has a maximum sailing distance of 18,520 km without refueling.

Helicopters can take off and land on platforms on board to get refueled or execute life-saving and searching tasks, Tang Gongjie, general manager of Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Co Ltd, the builder of the ship, was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.

The ship can provide accommodation to as many as 200 people in sea accidents. It is equipped with devices to offer basic medical treatment and surgeries.

Haixun 01 is expected to be on duty by the end of the year, Xinhua reported.

The standard of China's maritime administration equipment will be greatly enhanced after Haixun 01 is put into service, benefiting the country in sea transport safety, maritime environment protection and safeguarding the nation's sovereignty, said Huang He, deputy head of the maritime bureau of the Transport Ministry.

As of May 2011, China had about 300 marine surveillance ships, including 30 ships weighing more than 1,000 tons, and 10 planes, including four helicopters, to monitor marine affairs.

There are two patrol vessels weighing more than 3,000 tons, Haixun 11 and Haixun 31, and a 1,500-ton patrol vessel, Haixun 21.

"The new move sent a strong signal to the outside world that China is attempting to conduct more surveillance in its own waters," said Ni Lexiong, an expert on maritime policy at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

Ni said the building of large patrol vessels, instead of military ships, shows that the country aims to solve sea disputes with neighboring counties in a peaceful way.

Ni also said the move shows China is taking action to protect its legal rights as the number of sea disputes with other countries has surged recently.

"In the past, the patrol fleet, ocean inspection fleet and fishery administration fleet have been mainly comprised of old vessels decommissioned from the navy, but now we see more and more brand-new advanced ships being made and put into use."

Authorities at China Marine Surveillance, the country's marine supervisory administration, said in May that China is expected to build 36 inspection ships to join the surveillance fleet by 2013.