By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A naval surveying ship has completed its mission to gather underwater nautical information of the maritime area and adjacent coastal regions of Taiwan waters in the South China Sea, a local newspaper said yesterday. The nautical data gathered by Da Guan survey ship (達觀艦) is expected to be used as a reference for Taiwan government’s ongoing project to expand the Taiping Island wharf next year, the United Evening News said. Sources told the Chinese-language publication that the Navy sent the ship a month ago to waters near Taiping — the largest island in the Spratly isles — to update nautical data. A naval underwater unit was also dispatched for the same purpose. The gathered information is classified as confidential and will be used for the government in deciding which location of the island will be more appropriate in building a new wharf, the report said. Local media previously reported that work to allow the Taiping Island wharf to accommodate larger vessels will begin next year as part of ongoing military enhancements in the region Currently the wharf at Taiping Island is relatively outdated, with only small speedboats able to dock at its facilities.
It is reported that the Air Force is also considering expanding the length of the airstrip to 1,500 meters to improve landing and takeoff safety. The current runway is 1,150 meters long.