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From 1 September, certain foreign vessels must report their presence to the maritime administrations of the People’s Republic of China when entering Chinese territorial waters.

The Maritime Safety Administration of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) notice of 27 August 2021 contains information on the type of ships covered by this requirement, the information that must be reported and how the reporting shall be made. Oasis P&I Services’ circular contains an English translation of the requirements.

The China Navy Hydrographic Office (CNHO) is China’s official hydrographic surveying and mapping organization and publishes the nautical publications authorized by the government. Currently no Notices to Mariners released by CNHO or its counterparts in the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO), contain the reporting requirement.

 

China’s territorial waters

The MSA notice refers to foreign vessels entering the territorial sea of China. The partial baselines of the territorial sea of China can be found on the webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC. Mariners who would like to verify the limits of the territorial waters of China should refer to the above website which give the details of China’s claimed territorial waters. There are no declared baselines in Bohai Sea. Vessels bound for ports in the Bohai Sea should contact their local agents prior to arrival to ensure effective compliance with the reporting requirements.

 

Penalties for non-compliance

Where vessels do not comply with the requirements, the Maritime Safety Administration can impose a fine of between CNY 50,000 – CNY 500,000 (USD 7,700 – USD 77,000) on the owner, operator or manager of the vessel and a fine of between CNY 10,000 – CNY 30,000 (USD 1550 – USD 4,600) upon the master.

 

Recommendations

  1. We recommend that masters of vessels calling any port in China familiarize themselves with the Circular and look out for any future Notices to Mariners from the hydrographic office or any changes to the Admiralty Sailing Directions.
  2. The reporting limits should be marked on the navigation charts and all navigating officers should familiarize themselves with the requirements.
  3. Masters should contact their local agents before calling ports in China to ensure they comply with the reporting requirement. In case of any doubt Gard correspondents can be contacted for clarification.

Gard would like to thank Oasis P&I Services for the above information.