China's largest ever maritime search-and-rescue exercise, involving 400 people, 28 fleets, two helicopters and an aircraft, was carried out on Thursday in the waters near Dalian Port
, northeast China
's Liaoning Province.
The exercise started when a collision between a passenger ferry and a cargo boat was reported and the National Maritime Rescue Emergency Plan was enacted immediately. The main elements of the exercise, including the rescue of 368 passengers and dozens of sailors, fire-fighting and cleaning up an oil spill, were completed in 90 minutes.
By involving 24 departments including the maritime department, the rescue department and the navy, the exercise is a comprehensive test of China's newly-established national maritime rescue emergency system, said Vice Minister of Communications Xu Zuyuan.
China's national maritime rescue emergency system was established in 2005 and the central government has also substantially enhanced investment in recent years.
Statistics from China Maritime
Search and Rescue Center showed that a total of 1,568 accidents were reported on China's sea waters in 2005. The center saved 16,836 people over the year, accounting for 95.3 percent of the endangered people.