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China launches oil spill response vessels

(Xinhua)

14:04, April 14, 2012

NANNING, April 13 (Xinhua) -- China has put the country's first oil spill response vessels (OSRV) into use, a move to strengthen emergency response capabilities in case of oil spill accidents.

The vessel named "Haite 191" was put into operation Thursday off southern China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said Li Guokai, chief of the region's Maritime Safety Administration (MSA).

The vessel is equipped with the world's most advanced oil spill recovery technology, and oil spill recovery rates could reach 200 cubic meters per hour, according to Li.

A comprehensive oil spillage surveillance, tracking and detection radar system was installed on the vessel, and lifting equipment was also available so as to install fencing equipment to contain the spilled oil at sea, said Li.

At a cost of 65 million yuan (10.3 million U.S. dollars), the kiloton vessel has a cruising range of 800 sea miles with a maximum speed of 15 knots.

The vessel, 60 meters long and 12 meters wide, also will serve as a daily cruising vessel, Li said.

The ship is among the first of three specialized OSRVs which was approved for construction by China's MSA in 2010. Another, named "Haite 071" was put into use on Monday off Qingdao, eastern Shandong province, and "Haite 111," will go into operation within one month in the sea off Zhejiang province.

As China has been witnessing increasing number of offshore oil projects and rapid development for oil sea transportation, the risk of oil spills is also mounting.

"The OSRVs will to a large extent improve our emergency response ability for oil spill accidents, and effectively reduce the impact on the marine ecosystem," said Yuan Zongxiang, chief of Shandong MSA.

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