China sends maritime patrol 21 to Southeast Asia Sea

Jan 17, 2013- China’s Maritime Patrol 21 ship has set off on its first trip and is headed to the waters around Sansha ( including the Paracel and Spratly islands in Southeast Asia Sea/ South China Sea). The patrol boat set sail from Haikou, the capital of Hainan province. On Wednesday morning, it arrived in the Xisha Islands, and conducted an initial inspection of ship operations and the marine environment.

Maritime Patrol 21 is on its maiden voyage. It will pass by Yongxing Island, East Island, the Langhua reef and Chenhang Island in the South China Sea, before eventually returning to port in Sanya. It will cover a total of about 600 nautical miles.

16 joint law enforcement personnel from three maritime departments are aboard the ship. Despite bad sea conditions, the crew is pushing ahead with its travel plans.

Zhang Jie, Spokesman of Hainan Maritime Bureau, said, "The main task of this trip is to test the boat’s navigation and beacon systems, as well as check on other Chinese fishing boats operating in these waters. All these factors will affect our boat’s safety."

During the trip, the Hainan Maritime Bureau also tested the ship’s marine radio communication system.

Maritime Patrol 21 is China’s first kiloton class ship. It can be equipped with a carrier-based helicopter, giving it the ability to conduct sea and air surveillance as well as search and rescue missions under various weather conditions.