By J. Michael Cole
The News Lens International, 2 August 2016
A new port facility in Hainan could serve as a base for China’s ‘maritime militias’ in the disputed South China Sea.
China on Monday officially opened a new fishing port at Yazhou, Hainan Province, to host fishing vessels operating in the disputed South China Sea.
Located approximately 50 km West of Sanya, the Yazhou Bay Central Fishing Port — the largest in Hainan and the closest to the Spratly Islands — commenced limited operations in April 2015. The port spans a length of 1,063 meters and counts 11 functional berths that can currently accommodate a fleet of 800 fishing boats. Local officials say they hope to expand capacity to as many as 2,000. Construction was completed in June this year.
Starting on May 15, fishing boats stationed at Sanya Port were ordered to relocate to Yazhou. As per official plans, 468 Sanya-registered fishing boats and approximately 1,000 non-Sanya-registered fishing boats and 66 ice-making workshops and traders are to be transferred to Yazhou.
Yazhou Port is located about 260 km from the Paracel Islands and will serve as the main support base for Sansha and Woody Island, which “administers” an area of about 2 million square kilometers in the South China Sea.
More than 300 fishing vessels left the port on Monday for fishing grounds in the South China Sea. The opening ceremony coincided with the lifting of the annual fishing ban in parts of the South China Sea.
Zhang Huazhong (章華忠), head of the Sanya Ocean and Fishery Bureau, said the port has “very important significance in safeguarding China’s fishing rights in the South China Sea.”
Read more at http://international.thenewslens.com/article/45617
Maritime Militia in the South China Sea: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/events-and-analyses/maritime-militia-in-the-south-china-sea/
Facts on the Ground and on the Waters: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/south-china-sea-facts-on-the-ground-and-on-the-waters/