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Coast guard patrol vessels to get 24/7 surveillance systems after Kinmen incident

03/02/2024 04:10 PM
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A Coast Guard vessel operates around Taiwan's waters. File photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration
A Coast Guard vessel operates around Taiwan's waters. File photo courtesy of Coast Guard Administration

Taipei, March 2 (CNA) The Ocean Affairs Council will procure 24-hour, 360-degree surveillance systems to be installed on multipurpose vessels to prevent incidents similar to the fatal capsizing of a Chinese speedboat off the coast of Kinmen last month from happening again.

Council Minister Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) is scheduled to give a presentation next week about the Taiwanese coast guard's pursuit of an unnamed Chinese speedboat and the subsequent collision that led to the boat capsizing and the deaths of two Chinese crew members.

The presentation handout stated that during the high-speed chase, Coast Guard Administration (CGA) personnel were preoccupied with maintaining the balance of the ship, a task that required their full concentration, leaving them unable to record the incident with a handheld video camera.

This has hampered evidence-gathering efforts and to address this, 360-degree surveillance cameras will be procured to ensure future evidence-gathering will not be compromised, the council said.

In addition, although the CGA has procured 1,358 body cameras for its personnel in compliance with a resolution passed by the legislature's Internal Administration Committee, the CGA still does not have enough body cameras to be able to issue them to all officers, the council said.

Coastguards boarding a vessel. Photo courtesy of Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch, Coast Guard Administration Feb. 14, 2024
Coastguards boarding a vessel. Photo courtesy of Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch, Coast Guard Administration Feb. 14, 2024

To make up for that shortfall, the CGA will draw on the Cabinet's Second Reserve Fund to ensure all officers have access to them by the end of the year, the council said.

Meanwhile, noting that CGA personnel pursuing a Chinese speedboat were carrying out their duties in accordance with the law, the council said the boat illegally entered Taiwan-controlled "prohibited waters" near Kinmen and that the crew had tried to stop CGA officers from boarding.

In addition, the Chinese vessel was unnamed, unregistered, and had no identification papers, the council stated.

In the handout, the council stated that it will step up efforts to crack down on Chinese vessels that illegally enter Taiwan-controlled waters.

Regarding the Chinese coast guard boarding the Taiwanese Sunrise cruise ship on Feb. 19 in an apparent attempt to increase pressure on Taiwan, the council said in the handout that it will continue to keep close tabs on waters around Taiwan, enforce the law, and be sure not to engage in actions that could escalate tensions.

(By Kuo Chien-shen and Sean Lin)

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