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Taiwan vessel returns to Kinmen after being boarded by Chinese coast guard

02/19/2024 11:12 PM
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The sightseeing vessel King Xia is pictured in Kinmen on March 13, 2021 for its maiden voyage. CNA file photo
The sightseeing vessel King Xia is pictured in Kinmen on March 13, 2021 for its maiden voyage. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) A Taiwanese cruise ship was escorted back to Kinmen Monday after being boarded and inspected by Chinese coast guard personnel, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

The sightseeing vessel "King Xia" which had 11 crew members and 23 passengers was 2.8 nautical miles northwest of Kinmen's Wushajiao when it was intercepted by two Chinese coast guard boats at around 4:47 p.m., the CGA said in a news release.

Six Chinese officers boarded the Taiwanese vessel and proceeded to inspect the boat asking to see the documents of crew members, it said, adding that the Chinese personnel then returned to their boats and left the King Xia at 5:19 p.m.

The PP-10039 coastguard patrol boat was dispatched to the scene when the Chinese coast guard boats were spotted on radar, the CGA said.

The vessel reached the King Xia at 5:33 p.m. and escorted it back to Shuitou Port from where it departed earlier in the afternoon for a tour around Kinmen waters, the Taiwanese coast guard said.

According to the CGA, the King Xia apparently veered slightly off course at the time due to the multiple shoals near Wushajiao.

The coast guard said in the past there have been many incidents in which Chinese tourist vessels entered Taiwan-held waters near Kinmen by mistake but it did not board them because it was clearly not deliberate and instead just issued warnings.

Meanwhile, the CGA called on China to uphold peace and rationality and jointly maintain tranquility in the waters around Xiamen and Kinmen. At the same time, it also reminded Taiwanese operators to avoid going near Chinese waters when engaging in maritime-related activities.

In a separate statement on Monday, the Maritime and Port Bureau said the move undertaken by China was inconsistent with international norms.

The bureau also said that if Taiwanese vessels encounter such incidents in the future, they should refuse Chinese requests to board and immediately notify the CGA for assistance.

China has deployed coast guard vessels in waters off the coast of the Taiwan-held Kinmen Islands after a speedboat from nearby Fujian province capsized off the eastern coast of Kinmen on Feb. 14 as it was being chased by Taiwanese authorities, resulting in the deaths of two of the four people on board.

(By Tsai Meng-yu, Yu Hsiao-han and Ko Lin)


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