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April 29, 2017

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Coast Guard unveils new ship in Kaohsiung

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday held a ceremony to officially launch a new 3,000-ton patrol vessel in the southern city of Kaohsiung.

The ceremony was held at the Kaohsiung Shipbuilding Company when the vessel, named "Yilan," serial number CG-128, was officially launched. The 3,000-ton vessel is the largest CGA ship.

Speaking during the ceremony, CGA Minister Wang Ginn-wang (王進旺) said the vessel is named Yilan because it will be responsible for patrolling seas off the northeastern county.

The vessel will be responsible for safeguarding R.O.C. territorial claims and fishing rights in the northern sea, including the waters near the disputed Diaoyutai Islands.

He added that the vessel will officially join the CGA fleet this June.

The CGA is scheduled to conduct a series of tests on the ship at sea in the next few days. It will also conduct live fire tests of the 40mm gun fire control system installed on the ship in the near future, according to the Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday.

The patrol vessel has a length of 117.61 meters, a width of 15.2 meters and is designed with a helicopter flight deck capable of landing a helicopter when necessary to beef up the CGA's rescue operations in the open sea.

Another 3,000-ton vessel, the "Kaohsiung," serial number CG-129, will be officially launched in March.

The Kaohsiung will be responsible for transporting supplies to Taiwan-controlled islands in the South China Sea, including the Dongsha Islands (東沙島) and Taiping Island in the Spratly island chain, after they officially join the CGA in the future, sources told the newspaper.

The Kaohsiung vessel will be able to dock at Taiping Island after the CGA concludes an upgrading project on the existing wharf in the island in the South China Sea.

The two 3,000-ton ships were built with a total cost of NT$5.2 billion to beef up the CGA's capabilities.

The two ships were part of a total of 37 ships being commissioned under a 10-year plan under a total NT$24.07 billion budget to beef up the capacity of the CGA to enforce the law, carry out rescue operations and safeguard Taiwan's fishing rights.

After the beef-up, the number of ships in the CGA's fleet will increase to 173 with a total of 36,000 tons,

The CGA commissioned two new ships last March, including the 2,000-ton frigate "Hsinbei," meaning New Taipei, and a 1,000-ton patrol boat, the "Hsunhu No. 8."

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