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Taiwan Coast Guard holds drill, includes two new patrol ships

Taiwan Coast Guard holds drill, includes two new patrol ships

Taipei, June 6 (CNA) Taiwan's Coast Guard held a major maritime exercise Saturday in the southern city of Kaohsiung, after two new home-grown patrol vessels were formally commissioned to enhance the country's patrol capabilities. The 3,000-ton vessels, the "Kaohsiung" and the "Yilan," were formally put into service at a ceremony at Hsinbin Wharf, which was presided over by President Ma Ying-jeou (???). Both of the vessels are 119.4 meters long and 15.2 meters wide, and have a maximum speed of 24 knots and a range of 10,000 nautical miles. They are each equipped with a 20mm and a 40mm cannon and a powerful water cannon. Ma said that he hoped the addition of the two large ships would effectively bolster the Coast Guard's patrol capabilities and its ability to protect Taiwanese fishing boats and ensure the safety of Taiwanese fishermen. Fishing disputes involving Taiwanese fishing boats that operate in Taiwan's economic waters that overlap with those of its neighbors, such as Japan and the Philippines, are not uncommon. The commissioning ceremony was followed by a maritime drill that also included the new vessels and personnel from the Coast Guard and the National Airborne Service Corps under the Ministry of the Interior. A total of 21 patrol vessels and boats, along with four helicopters, participated in the Coast Guard's biennial drill, which was held in waters off Kaohsiung City. The president boarded the "Kaohsiung" to observe the drill, in which a National Airborne Service Corps helicopter successfully took off from the "Yilan" and landed on it later. Ma said he was satisfied with the vessels and expected to see improvements in the Coast Guard's patrol and rescue capabilities and closer cooperation with the National Airborne Service Corps. In his address at the ceremony, the president also mentioned the South China Sea territorial dispute and reiterated his South China Sea Peace Initiative. If the spirit of the initiative -- which calls for shelving disputes and seeking joint development of resources -- is adopted, it will create a win-win situation among the claimants and promote peace and stability in the region, he said. The president lauded the Coast Guard's increased efforts to protect Taiwanese fishing boats in the wake of a shooting death of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard in an overlapping exclusive economic zone on May 9, 2013. The two countries are trying to sign an agreement on law enforcement cooperation in their overlapping economic waters to specify no use of force or violence when patrolling fishing grounds, the establishment of a mechanism to inform each other in the event of fishery incidents, and the release of detained fishermen and boats as soon as possible. The Coast Guard and the Navy will continue their efforts to protect Taiwanese fishermen, Ma said, but he also urged Taiwanese fishermen not to trespass in the Philippines' territorial waters.
(By Chen Cho-fu and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-23 23:55 GMT+08:00