CHINA> National
2nd ship to patrol South China Sea
By Zhang Xin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-03-28 09:13

The Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region's largest fishery administration ship, China Yuzheng 45001, has reached Xisha Islands, and will assist China Yuzheng 311 in patrolling the South China Sea for at least 15 days, an official said on Friday.

Yuzheng 311, China's largest fishery administration vessel, is pictured as it arrives in the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, March 17, 2009. [Xinhua

"China Yuzheng 45001 will assist China Yuzheng 311 to patrol the South China Seato curb illegal fishing activity and safeguard China's interests and rights in its Exclusive Economic Zones," said Chen Guoliang, in charge of fishery administration and supervision in the region.

After sailing from Beihai on Monday, China Yuzheng 45001 has interacted with China Yuzheng 311 and has jointly conducted patrol missions with the latter, Chen said.

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After a voyage of over 2,000 nautical miles, China Yuzheng 311 sailed back to Guangzhou on Wednesday without going further on to Nansha Islands, he said.

"We haven't received any instructions from the Ministry of Agriculture on whether China Yuzheng 45001 will patrol the waters off Nansha Islands," Chen said.

China Yuzheng 45001, with a water displacement of 570 tons, reached Xisha Islands on Thursday morning, the second time it was doing so after a 17-day patrolling effort in 2007.

"Backed by the ministry, we are working with the fishery administration in Guangzhou to protect our waters," Chen said.

He pointed out that more fishery patrol ships would be built in Guangxi to guard the waters of the South China Sea.

On March 10, the administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision of the South China Sea in Guangzhou sent China Yuzheng 311, the country's biggest fishery patrol vessel with a water displacement of 4,500 tons, to curb illegal fishing.

The ship arrived in Xisha Islands on March 15 after a US Navy spy vessel intruded into China's Exclusive Economic Zone and neighboring countries like Malaysia and the Philippines made sovereignty claims over some of those islands.

It has not yet been decided whether China Yuzheng 311 would return to its mission in the South China Sea, a person surnamed Zhu, who is in charge of the Administration of Fishery and Fishing Harbor Supervision of the South China Sea, said on Friday.

Zhu also said that another fishery patrol vessel of 2,500 tons displacement capacity, which can carry helicopters on board, was likely to be sent into the South China Sea next year.

"We will be joining efforts and building up capacities to prepare for the challenges and complications in the South China Sea," Zhu said.