Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Oceans ministry needed to assert nation’s EEZ: official

By Hung Ting-hung  /  Staff reporter

A ministry of oceans or a council on maritime affairs should be created so that the nation can assert sovereignty over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Aviation Safety Council Chairperson Hwung Hwung-hweng (黃煌煇) said yesterday.

Hwung made the remarks at a forum on emerging ocean technology and boosting the nation’s competitiveness, which was organized by the Kaohsiung City Government and the Forward-looking Society.

Apart from its territorial waters that extend for 12 nautical miles (22.2km), Taiwan can also claim sovereignty over its EEZ, which can be seven times larger than the nation’s area and extend up to 200 nautical miles, he said.

The government should demarcate its EEZ as soon as possible so that its neighbors — such as China, Japan and the Philippines — would seek negotiations, he said.

Appointed council chairperson in December 2015, Hwung is a renowned hydraulic and ocean engineering expert and was president of National Cheng Kung University from 2011 to 2015.

The nation needs more professionals and equipment to develop its offshore wind energy industry, especially when foreign developers are expected to prompt an investment of NT$2 trillion (US$67.7 billion) in the sector, forum speaker and National Taiwan Ocean University vice president Hsu Tai-wen (許泰文) said.

Many components of the industry are still wanting, such as underwater heritage documentation and techniques for welding, ocean engineering and wind turbine maintenance, Hsu said, adding that professional vessels — such as geophysical survey ships, jack-up barges, heavy-lifting ships, turbine construction vessels and service crew vessels — are also lacking.

Divers and specialists trained for public relations, negotiation or translation are insufficient, he said.

The domestic ocean engineering industry is taking off, but institutions have difficulty recruiting students, as parents cannot envision the industry’s future, Taiwan Oceanic Research Institute director Wang Chao-chang (王兆璋) said.

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