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South China News

13 Apr 2021

Taiwan Bolsters Navy with New Amphibious Warfare Ship

(Photo: CSBC Corporation Taiwan)

Taiwan unveiled a new amphibious warfare ship on Tuesday that can be used to land troops and will bolster supply lines to vulnerable islands offshore China and in the South China Sea.The 10,600-tonne Yu Shan, named after Taiwan’s tallest mountain, is the latest part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s ambitious program to modernize the armed forces amid pressure from China, which claims the island as its own.Built by state-backed CSBC Corporation Taiwan, the ship will enter service next year…

30 Mar 2021

CNOOC to Fuel 50 New Gas-powered River Vessels

Image credit: Eagle/AdobeStock

China National Offshore Oil Company, or CNOOC, said on Tuesday its gas and power unit would fuel 50 gas-powered vessels to be built by a state-run shipping group as part of the country's gasification push.The vessels, all for dry bulk shipments and scaled at 2,000 - 3,000 dead-weight tonnages, will be powered purely by liquefied natural gas, CNOOC said.CNOOC, China's top importer of the super-chilled fuel, has also been a leader in pushing for its use as ship fuel.In a separate pact, China State Shipbuilding Corporation Ltd agreed to build the 50 vessels for Guangdong Province Navigation Holdi

22 Mar 2021

Philippines Says 220 Chinese Militia Vessels Seen in Disputed Waters This Month

© Oleksii / Adobe Stock

The Philippines expressed concern about hundreds of Chinese military vessels it said were spotted this month in the disputed South China Sea, the latest example of tension in the crucial waterway.The Philippine Coast Guard reported that some 220 vessels, believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia personnel, were seen moored in line formation at a reef on March 7, a cross-government task force said late on Saturday.Foreign minister Teodoro Locsin, asked whether he would file a diplomatic protest over the ships’ presence, told a journalist on Twitter: “Only if the generals tell me.

04 Mar 2021

Germany to Sail a Warship Across the South China Sea

© Julian / Adobe Stock

The United States on Wednesday hailed plans by NATO ally Germany to sail a warship across the contested South China Sea, calling it welcome support for a “rules-based international order” in the region, something Washington says is threatened by China.German government officials said on Tuesday a German frigate would set sail for Asia in August and, on its return journey, become the first German warship to cross the South China Sea since 2002.“The United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability…

01 Mar 2021

One-third of Hin Leong Founder's Ships Sold to Pay Down Debt

© Phillippe Guichot / MarineTraffic.com

About one third of the roughly 150 ships owned by companies controlled by Singapore tycoon Lim Oon Kuin and his family have been sold as part of efforts to repay billions of dollars of debt owed to creditors, two sources told Reuters.Accounting firm Grant Thornton, court-appointed supervisor of Xihe Holdings, put up several vessels for sale through shipbrokers in September last year. Xihe Holdings is owned by the Lim family and held the bulk of their fleet.The rest of the ships…

03 Feb 2021

UK, Japan Concerned Over East, South China Seas Situation

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

Four ministers from Japan and Britain voiced serious concern on Wednesday about the situation in the East and South China seas and opposed any unilateral attempts to change the status quo, in a apparent reference to China’s maritime expansion.The joint statement was issued after an online meeting of Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi of Japan, and their respective British counterparts Dominic Raab and Ben Wallace.“The four ministers reaffirmed…

25 Jan 2021

China Says US Military in South China Sea Not Good for Peace

(Photo: Brendan Mullin / U.S. Marine Corps)

The United States often sends ships and aircraft into the South China Sea to “flex its muscles” and this is not good for peace, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after a U.S. aircraft carrier group sailed into the disputed waterway.The strategic South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade flows each year, has long been a focus of contention between Beijing and Washington, with China particularly angered by U.S. military activity there.The U.S. carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and accompanied by three warships…

25 Jan 2021

ABS Grants AIP for CMI's Deepsea Mining System

Matt Tremblay, SVP, Global Offshore, ABS

In what has been described as an industry first, maritime and offshore classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has awarded China Merchants Industry (CMI) Approval in Principle (AIP) for its deep-sea mining system design.The AIP follows the publication of the ABS Guide for Subsea Mining in October 2020 and is the first to be issued that conforms to the new Guide, ABS said.CMI’s design focuses on retrieving cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust deposits attached to seamounts.

22 Jan 2021

China Authorizes Coast Guard to Fire on Foreign Vessels if Needed

(File photo; William Colclough / U.S. Coast Guard)

China passed a law on Friday that for the first time explicitly allows its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels, a move that could make the contested waters around China more choppy.China has maritime sovereignty disputes with Japan in the East China Sea and with several Southeast Asian countries in the South China Sea.

14 Jan 2021

U.S. Blacklists China's CNOOC over South China Sea Actions

Credit: Eagle/AdobeStock

The Trump administration added China’s CNOOC to a U.S. economic blacklist on Thursday, accusing the oil giant of helping Beijing intimidate neighbors in the South China Sea and ratcheting up tension days before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office.Alongside blacklisting CNOOC, the Commerce Department added China’s Skyrizon to the Military End-User (MEU) List over its ability to develop military products including aircraft engines, restricting its access to U.S. exports.CNOOC…

04 Jan 2021

Evergreen Takes Delivery of Two 12,000 TEU Ships

Ever Forever is the sixth containership of Evergreen Line’s F-type series. Built at the Geoje Shipyard of Samsung Heavy Industries, its twin-island hull design broadens the view from the navigation bridge and increases cargo loading capacity. (Photo: Evergreen Line)

Evergreen Line took delivery of its sixth and seventh new 12,000 TEU class F-type containerships on December 15. Ever Forever was built at the Geoje Shipyard of South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries, and Ever Far was delivered by Imabari Shipbuilding in Japan.The two new large containerships set sail in good order after the delivery procedures were completed. The ships’ 58,000-horsepower main engines are powering the technically advanced vessels to their allocated loading ports on Evergreen’s trans-Pacific services. Ever Forever will be put into service on the Asia-U.S.

11 Dec 2020

CMA-CGM Suspends Cargo Bound for South China Ports in Early 2021

© sheilaf2002 / Adobe Stock

CMA-CGM, the world's fourth-largest container shipping line, has told customers it will not take bookings for cargo due to arrive at ports in southern China over several weeks in early 2021 due to a suspension of service by feeder operators.Feeders collect containers from smaller ports and take them to terminals where they can be loaded onto large vessels.CMA-CGM's move comes amid a global shortage of containers that is likely to hamper surging exports from China as the world…

17 Nov 2020

Japan, Australia Reach Security Pact Amid Fears Over Disputed South China Sea

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the South China Sea for multinational exercises, Oct. 19. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Japan and Australia agreed on a breakthrough defense pact on Tuesday allowing reciprocal visits for training and operations, and voiced concern over the disputed South China Sea, where China is extending its military influence.It is Japan's first agreement covering foreign military presence on its soil since a status of forces agreement in 1960 that allowed the United States to base warships, jets and troops in Japan as part of an alliance that Washington describes as the bedrock of regional security.The Reciprocal Access Agreement strengthens defense ties between the two U.S.

11 Nov 2020

Asian Piracy Is on the Rise

© Em / Adobe Stock

Piracy and armed robbery against ships is on the rise in Asia, ReCAAP ISC reveals in its latest monthly report. In October, nine incidents of armed robbery against ships and no piracy incidents were reported in Asia. With these, the total number of incidents from January to October was 84, a 35% increase from 62 over the same period in 2019, and the most reported since 2016.ReCAAP ISC expressed concern over the overall increase of incidents in Asia, particularly regarding the continued occurrence of robberies and thefts in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes…

26 Oct 2020

US to Base Coast Guard Cutters in Western Pacific in Response to China

Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) steams towards Apra Harbor before arriving at its new homeport in Santa Rita, Guam, in September. The new Fast Response Cutter (FRC) is the first of three scheduled to be stationed on Guam and is replacing the 30-year old 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. (Photo: MacAdam Kane Weissman / U.S. Navy)

The U.S. national security adviser said on Friday the U.S Coast Guard was basing Fast Response Cutters in the western Pacific for maritime security missions, citing illegal fishing and harassment of vessels by China.In a statement, Robert O’Brien also said the Coast Guard planned to evaluate next fiscal year the feasibility of basing Fast Response Cutters in American Samoa in the South Pacific.The statement described the United States as a Pacific power and added that China’s “illegal…

14 Oct 2020

China Asks Malaysia to Safeguard Detained Sailors' Rights

© Oleksii / Adobe Stock

China’s foreign ministry said Monday the country had asked Malaysia to safeguard the rights of Chinese nationals it had detained for trespassing in its waters, and investigate the case according to the law.Malaysia’s maritime authorities said on Saturday they had detained 60 Chinese nationals and six Chinese-registered fishing vessels.Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily news briefing in Beijing that officials from China’s embassy in Malaysia have visited the sailors, and that the vessels were in Malaysian waters when they were detained.Malaysia reported 89 intrusi

13 Oct 2020

Malaysia Detains Chinese Vessels for Trespassing

© Igor Groshev / Adobe Stock

Malaysia’s maritime authorities said on Saturday they had detained 60 Chinese nationals and six Chinese-registered fishing vessels they said were trespassing into the Southeast Asian country’s waters.Malaysia reported 89 intrusions by Chinese coastguard and navy ships between 2016 and 2019, amid escalating tensions between the United States and China over Beijing’s claims to most of the resource-rich South China Sea, which is also a major trade route.The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the fishing vessels and crew were detained in an operation off the coast of the southern st

23 Sep 2020

US Coast Guard Cutter Docks in Japan After Shipboard Fire

Firefighting teams combat flames on board the Coast Guard cutter Waesche in the Western Pacific Ocean. (Coast Guard photo by Aidan Cooney)

A fire-stricken U.S. Coast Guard cutter docked in Yokosuka, Japan Tuesday for inspection and possible repairs days after an onboard blaze left five crew members with minor injuries.Black smoke was reported on the cutter Waesche (WMSL 751) at 5:18 p.m. (local time) on Sunday while the ship was on deployed within the U.S. 7th Fleet's area of operations, the Coast Guard said.Onboard crews were able to contain the flames in the ship' exhaust stack and nearby spaces, and all fires…

17 Sep 2020

Report: Seven Xihe Holdings Tankers Up for Sale

PU TUO SAN TAnker - Image by Bill Henderson/MarineTraffic.com

The supervisor of Singaporean shipping group Xihe Holdings Pte Ltd has put seven oil tankers controlled by the company up for sale as part of efforts to recoup funds owed to creditors, three sources said on Wednesday. Xihe Holdings is part of the Lim family business empire, which also includes oil trader Hin Leong Trading and fleet manager Ocean Tankers (Pte) Ltd, both of which were placed under court-appointed supervisors earlier this year.The sale includes three crude oil supertankers and is expected to get fully underway in the coming days…

26 Aug 2020

US Sanctions 24 Companies Over South China Sea Dispute

© Danil Rogulin / Adobe Stock

The United States on Wednesday blacklisted 24 Chinese companies and targeted individuals it said were part of construction and military actions in the South China Sea, its first such sanctions move against Beijing over the disputed strategic waterway.The U.S. Commerce Department said the two dozen companies played a “role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea.”Separately, the State Department said it would impose visa restrictions on Chinese individuals “responsible for…

24 Aug 2020

Philippines Protests China's 'Illicit' Warnings, Coast Guard Conduct

© Richard Whitcombe / Adobe Stock

The Philippines has lodged a diplomatic protest over what it said was China’s illegal confiscation of fish aggregating devices from Filipino fisherman in a disputed lagoon held by Beijing in the South China Sea.The Philippine foreign ministry said the incident happened three months ago at the Scarborough Shoal, a prime fishing site seized by Beijing in 2012 after a standoff that prompted an unprecedented international legal challenge by Manila.In a statement late on Thursday, it gave no other details about that incident…

17 Aug 2020

Vietnamese Fisherman Killed in Clash with Malaysian Coast Guard

(Photo: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency)

Malaysia said on Monday that a Vietnamese fisherman died from gunshot wounds after a confrontation broke out when the country’s coast guard sought to inspect two boats they believed were illegally fishing.In a statement, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said 19 Vietnamese fishermen had been on board the boats, accusing them of pelting the enforcement ship with hard objects, as well as flammable items, before eventually ramming it.The statement said that incident took place in waters off Kelantan state and that coast guard officers onboard had responded by firing in self-defense, wound

07 Aug 2020

Pentagon Chief Concerned About Beijing's Activity in South China Sea

Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper (DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard)

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed concerns about Beijing’s “destabilizing” activity near Taiwan and the South China Sea in a call with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, the Pentagon said on Thursday, the first time the two are believed to have spoken since March.The call came as U.S.-China ties have rapidly deteriorated this year over a range of issues, including Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus, telecommunications equipment maker Huawei, China’s territorial…

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