Smoother sailing for Yangtze River ships
( 2003-07-02 09:37) (China Daily)
Foreign ships can now travel the lower Yangtze River at night smoothly because of changes to navigation channels that took effect yesterday.
A special channel up to 500 metres wide has been set aside for the first time for large, seagoing vessels on the 300-kilometre stretch of the river below Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province.
Wang Jingdong, a publicity official with the State Maritime Safety Administration, said the newly designated channel took up the centre of the river, while two narrower channels on either side, each 200 metres in width, are reserved for smaller ships.
All ships must keep to the right while in their channel.
"Henceforth, sea ships, even foreign ones unfamiliar with Chinese rivers, should be able to travel the Yangtze River easily, without fear of collision with smaller ships that appear unexpectedly," said Wang.
Before the new channel was created, captains of foreign seagoing vessels used to complain about the "disorder" on the river, which greatly reduced their sailing speeds during the day and made night sails impossible.
He Zhizhong, director of the Nanjing Maritime Safety Bureau, said the new navigation rules for the Yangtze River would boost the local economy.
Ships travelling the Yangtze River below Nanjing carry 20 times the amount of cargo as the railways connecting Nanjing and Shanghai, and 10 times that transported by road between the two major Chinese cities.
He said Nanjing Harbour on the Yangtze River is improving its facilities to prepare for the increased traffic in seagoing vessels now that the new channel has been introduced.
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