Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday inaugurated two new research vessels at CSBC Corp, Taiwan’s (CSBC, 台灣國際造船) Keelung Yard, saying that oceanography in the nation is entering a new era, with the government devoting more resources to the field.
Commissioned by the Ministry of Science and Technology, CSBC in January last year began building the R/V New Ocean Researcher 2 and R/V New Ocean Researcher 3 at a budget of NT$470 million (US$15.4 million) each.
The two 811-tonne vessels are to replace R/V Ocean Researcher II and R/V Ocean Researcher III, managed by National Taiwan Ocean University (NTOU) and National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) respectively.
Oceanography in the nation is entering a new era with the inauguration of the new vessels, while the legislature earlier this month also passed the Ocean Basic Act (海洋基本法), aiming to bring people closer to the marine environment, Chen said.
Ocean research in Taiwan can be traced back about half a century when the nation took over a decommissioned US naval ship and renamed it the Chiu Lien (九連號), NSYSU vice president Chen Yang-yih (陳陽益) said, adding that Taiwan became increasingly competent over the years and developed its own facilities.
The new vessels were planned more than a decade ago, as the old ones have been in operation for more than 25 years and existing facilities are unable to satisfy research requirements, NTOU president Chang Ching-fong (張清風) said.
Taiwan should make better use of its edge in marine exploration and cultivate related talent, Chang said, expressing the hope that the government will devote more resources to supporting domestic oceanography.
The two new vessels are equipped with imported state-of-the-art instruments, including a multibeam echo sounder that can produce high-resolution images to map the sea floor; an acoustic Doppler current profiler that can measure current velocity; and a dynamic positioning system that can more precisely maintain a vessel’s position during a sampling mission at sea.
A third new research vessel — the 2,155-tonne R/V New Ocean Researcher 1 — is expected to be completed before the end of this year, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.
Along with the 2,629-tonne R/V Legend (勵進) — which was launched last year and is operated by the National Applied Research Laboratories’ Taiwan Ocean Research Institute — the research vessels would allow oceanographers to plan more diverse expeditions further afield, he said.
Scientists are encouraged to engage in offshore wind farm engineering and underwater archeology, in addition to the existing disciplines of physical and chemical oceanography, as well as marine biology and geology, he added.
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did