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10 Coast Guard personnel reprimanded over Chinese boat incursion

06/11/2024 09:55 PM
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CGA Director-General Chang Chung-lung speaks at a press conference Tuesday. CNA photo June 11, 2024
CGA Director-General Chang Chung-lung speaks at a press conference Tuesday. CNA photo June 11, 2024

Taipei, June 11 (CNA) Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA) on Tuesday admitted negligence and reprimanded 10 personnel over an incident in which a Chinese speedboat illegally reached the Tamsui River mouth over the weekend.

After a thorough review, the problem was found to be not in the monitoring system but in human negligence, CGA Director-General Chang Chung-lung (張忠龍) said at a press conference.

Chang made the remarks after the administration, which is responsible for safeguarding Taiwan's territorial waters, faced heavy criticism for failing to stop a Chinese national surnamed Ruan (阮) who allegedly drove a speedboat into a harbor near the mouth of the Tamsui River on Sunday.

It was only after the speedboat collided with other vessels at a Tamsui ferry terminal, that operators called the CGA and Coast Guard personnel arrested the Chinese man, who claimed to be trying to defect to Taiwan from China.

Radar operators mistakenly identified the speedboat as a Taiwanese fishing vessel returning to its home port of Tamsui, the director-general said.

According to the CGA, 10 individuals received reprimands ranging from warnings to demerits including the head of the Coast Guard's Patrol Division Liao Te-sheng (廖德聖), as well as personnel responsible for radar operations and those working at a coastal lookout point.

CGA Deputy head Hsieh Ching-chin (謝慶欽), who was also at the press event, said operators at the Shalun radar station first detected Ruan's 9-meter-long speedboat that day at around 6 nautical miles (11 kilometers) off the coast of Tamsui, but thought it was a Taiwanese fishing vessel.

Echoing Chang, Hsieh said the incident was caused by poor judgement and negligence, adding that the Coast Guard monitoring system was not the problem.

From 2014 to 2023, the CGA has captured a total of 119 illegal immigrants coming from China, he said, and so far this year the Coast Guard also expelled 809 Chinese vessels from entering Taiwan controlled waters.

Hsieh said the CGA will continue to enhance personnel training and strengthen coordination with the Ministry of National Defense to closely monitor Taiwan's maritime security.

(By Huang Li-yun, Joseph Yeh and Ko Lin)

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