The China Rescue and Salvage Bureau announced
plans to update its offshore rescue system. Operational by 2010, the new system will mean rescue vessels will be able to reach any spot within 50 nautical miles (92.6 kilometres) of the coast in two and a half hours, cutting reaction time by an hour from present.
Helicopters will be able to search for and rescue targets at night, expanding the offshore search radius from 110 to 260 nautical miles (204 to 482 kilometres).
The bureau revealed the measures, to be taken in its 11th Five Year plan (2006-10), at a press conference in Beijing to mark the 55th anniversary of its establishment.
According to the plan, new rescue vessels will be purchased to build a fleet of 56 rescue tugboats with different sizes and functions.
"The fleet should be able to set off and carry out effective rescue work in heavy seas," said Song Jiahui, head of the bureau.
Currently the bureau has 180 vessels and nine helicopters. More than 8,000 people are employed in 20 rescue bases along the coast. (Source: China Daily