In a bid to regulate foreign ships, China this week notified new maritime rules warranting vessels carrying radioactive materials, bulk oil, chemicals to report the details of the cargos upon their entry into Chinese waters.
The new rules are expected to increase tensions if China strictly enforces them in the disputed South China Sea and the Taiwan straits where the US and its allies have been conducting naval expeditions, challenging Beijing’s claims to assert the freedom of navigation.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square-mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
According to a notice from China’s maritime safety authorities issued over the weekend, operators of submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances (IMDG) are required to report their detailed information upon their visits to Chinese territorial waters.
In addition to these types of vessels, vessels that may endanger the maritime traffic safety of China prescribed by laws should also follow the new regulation which will take effect from September 1, the state-run Global Times quoted the notice from Maritime Safety Administration.
Those vessels should report the name, call sign, current position and next port of call and estimated time of arrival. The name of shipborne dangerous goods and cargo deadweight are also required in the report, the report said.
Chinese experts told the Global Times they view the rollout of such maritime regulations as a sign of stepped-up efforts to safeguard China’s national security at sea by implementing strict rules to boost maritime identification capability.
The reference to submersible reportedly refers to spy devices unmanned spy devices found by the Chinese fishermen in China’s coastline.
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