November 04, 2017

Concerns raised as China launches massive island-making vessel

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/631932/concerns-raised-as-china-launches-massive-island-making-vessel/story/


Published November 4, 2017 6:19pm 

By MARGARET CLAIRE LAYUG, GMA News

China has launched Asia's largest dredging vessel described by local media as a "magic island maker," the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.

The vessel named Tian Kun Hao has begun its water tests at the coastal province of Jiangsu.

The ship was reported to have a deck the size of nine basketball courts capable of dredging up to 6,000 cubic meters an hour and can dig as deep as 35 meters under the sea floor.

It is also reportedly equipped with an advanced global positioning system.

Measuring 140 meters long and 28 meters wide, Tian Kun Hao replaces Tian Jing Hao as Asia's largest dredging vessel.

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Tian Jing Hao was reported to have been extensively used in building artificial islands in the South China Sea.

A maritime security expert was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying the vessel could raise concern among nations with rival claims on territories in the South China Sea since it "suggests Beijing is preparing to reassert its dominance in the disputed waters."

“Creating such dredging technology could be part of China’s quest to become a maritime power,” Collin Koh of the Technology University in Singapore said.

According to the report, a Beijing-based military expert had eased concerns by assuring that “China will abide by the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea... and won’t use the dredger to expand its artificial islands.” 

According to Chinese media agency Xinhua, the ship is set to go into service in June next year. — MDM, GMA News

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