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Free electronic charts to boost jet boat safety
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Maritime authorities from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao jointly issued the latest-version of electronic charts for one-year's free use for jet boats shuttling between the three sides.

The China Communication News reported Monday that the Guangdong Provincial Maritime Bureau, the Marine Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Maritime Administration of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) produced the 14 pieces of electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS), which are available for free use for more than 100 jet boats carrying passengers in the sea area near the Pearl River mouth.

Such service will charge after the first year's free use of the ECDIS, the authorities said, without saying how much it will cost.

Hong Sixiong, an official from Guangdong, said the ECDIS, a specific form of computer-based navigation information system that integrates a variety of information that is displayed and interpreted to mariners, will greatly improve navigation safety and operational efficiency, the newspaper reported. The area now sees nearly 300 departures and arrivals of jet boats every day. The annual passenger departures and arrivals are about 20 million.

The newly-developed ECDIS provides seamless coverage of the sea area of the Pearl River mouth and corrects a few errors of separate electronic charts previously prepared by the three authorities, Hong said.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) lately issued a regulation, requiring jet boats, manufactured after July 1, 2008, must be equipped with ECDIS receivers, and all jet boats in operation must use the ECDIS facilities after July 1, 2010.

(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2007)


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