Taiwan, China conduct joint maritime rescue drill


TAIPEI — Taiwanese and Chinese rescue teams conducted a joint drill in the waters off the Taiwan-controlled Matsu islands Thursday to practice search and rescue operations for maritime disasters like the South Korean ferry that sank in April this year.

Taking part in the drill were China’s maritime Search and Rescue Center, which organized the exercise, and Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CGA).

The CGA said both had been in close communication to figure out the details of the drill and make it possible.

In total, 33 vessels, four helicopters and around 550 personnel were mobilized for the exercise near the Matsu archipelago, which has a maritime border with Mawei, a district of the Chinese city of Fuzhou.

The scenario simulated a ferry heading from Mawei that collided with a cargo ship on its way to Matsu.

The CGA said that in addition to search and rescue operations, the drill was a test of the notification system and emergency contingency mechanisms between Taiwan and China.

Both sides will conduct maritime search and rescue drill every two years and pool resources for humanitarian rescue missions to ensure the safety of vessels, people and the environment, the CGA said.