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China holds first anti-terror drill for oil tankers
Updated: 2004-06-23 20:43

At 1:34 p.m. Wednesday, a Chinese oil tanker sailing in the South China Sea was hit by a small boat in a suicide bomb attack.

The attack, however, was only a drill and the China Maritime Search & Rescue Center and China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) launched the emergency response mechanism immediately.

This was China's first anti-terrorism drill involving an oil tanker with a loading capacity of 300,000 tons, said Liu Gongchen, director of the China Maritime Safety Administration.

"It is aimed to test China's ability in safeguarding traffic security on the sea," said Liu.

The international anti-terrorism situation has been very serious since the terrorist attack hit the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, said Liu.

To combat attacks on the sea, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed amendments to an international convention on the Safety of Life at Sea on Dec. 12, 2002.

A second series of proposals, concerning security of both ships and port facilities, were also adopted last year by members of the IMO. These measures are to take effect on July 1 this year.

COSCO is an international giant, specializing in shipping and modern logistics. It owns and operates a variety of merchant fleets of some 600 vessels with a total carrying capacity up to 31 million tons.

By the end of this May, 480 ocean liners of COSCO have gained a safety certificate for international ships. The annual traffic volume of COSCO is more than 200 million tons.

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