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China Stages Regular Marine Surveillance on East China Sea
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China's marine surveillance forces identified several US military vessels that were caught carrying out geological and topographical surveys in waters under Chinese jurisdiction last year.

A recent report by the State Oceanic Administration on operations in China's waters did not detail how many United States military vessels were found, saying only that they were ordered to cease operations.

Routine patrols by the China Marine Surveillance forces detected 2,436 illegal activities in China's territorial waters, up nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

Foreign vessels that surveyed or explored for oil and gas without approval and those that disturbed China's normal oil and gas exploration were monitored or expelled, according to the 2006 Circular on Maritime Administrative Law Enforcement.

The force, established in 1998, is responsible for administering the country's coastal and territorial waters.

Its patrol aircraft made 172 flights, totaling 770 hours, while its patrol vessels made 34 voyages covering 57,875 nautical miles last year.

Nine vessels from six countries conducted scientific research or maintained underwater cables in waters under China's jurisdiction in 2006, it said.

It reported on 36,232 incidents at sea , up 85.8 percent from the previous year. It levied 94.79 million yuan (about US$12 million) in fines, nearly double from 2005.

Almost 83 percent of the transgressions related to unauthorized reclaiming of land, aquatic breeding, illegal fishing and exploration. The remaining cases mainly involved defaults on payments of various use fees.

The forces also reported 648 cases of damage to the marine environment. Oceanic oil exploration projects in the Bohai Sea, Beibu Gulf, East China Sea, the northern South China Sea and Yingge Sea are strictly monitored to prevent oil spills.

(Xinhua News Agency April 7, 2007)

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