A Chinese marine patrol ship set sail from Shanghai this morning on its very first visit to the United States.
This more than one-hundred-meter long ocean patrol ship – the Haixun 31 – is part of the maritime law enforcement unit of the Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration. Its job is to oversee maritime and shipping safety, supervise maritime traffic safety and security, and prevent pollution from ships. It is considered one of China’s most advanced patrol ships.
Wu Jiansheng, Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration, said, “This is the first time that a Chinese ocean patrol ship with helicopter-carrying capacity is going to the United States.”
The trip will cover 4,400 nautical miles. It will take the ship two days to cross the Osumi-kaikyo strait that links the east China sea to the Pacific Ocean, and is expected to arrive in Hawaii on September 4th.
“We’ll have exercises with the US Coast Guard.” Wu said.
Barry Compagnoni, Captain of US Coast Guard Liaison to China, said, “It’s a good example of our practical cooperation with China MSA and the United States Coast Guard on search and rescue. And we have many other areas of interest with respect to safety of life at sea, international ship and port security, as well as the prevention of pollution from, in the marine environment. ”
China and the United States decided to increase this kind of communication and collaboration after the fourth round of their Strategic and Economic Dialogue in May. Officials say this vessel’s mission is part of the effort to strengthen mutual understanding.
And while the Haixun 31 may encounter Typhoon Bolaven in the next few days, the captain says the ship is capable of dealing with a level 12 wind. And he says there’s also a backup route to avoid the typhoon.