Tue, Jun 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Port Bureau bill to restrict drones around harbors

By Chen Yi-chia and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Maritime Port Bureau is to propose legislation to impose fines of up NT$500,000 for operating drones over restricted zones at ports and harbors without authorization.

The proliferation of privately owned aerial drones have led to substantial risks to public safety, as shown by the inadvertent exposure of the navy’s secret Panshih-class support ship by a civilian drone at Kaohsiung Harbor last year, the bureau said

While regulations forbid operating drones in sensitive areas near the nation’s harbors, the government still has no legal authority to impose penalties or fines, it said.

The bureau said it has motioned the ministry to propose legislation to establish restrictions on drone operations at harbors and implement penalties for contraventions, it said.

The bill, expected next month at the earliest, would impose a fine of between NT$100,000 and NT$500,000 for operating drones illegally near a harbor, with the harbor police authorized to seize the offending equipment, the bureau said.

Illegal behavior is to be defined as operating drones in restricted airspace without authorization or in ways that contravene safety regulations, it said.

Regulations define restricted airspace as airspace above the berths of sea vessels, anchored chemical transport ships and oil tankers, port-side hazardous material storage facilities, signal stations or military ports, the bureau said.

Harbor police would be asked to step up patrols at ports, it said.

The bureau called on members of the public to come forward if they know the landing site of an illegal drone or the identity of its operator.

Stricter regulation of drones is necessary as most of the nation’s ports and harbors are home to sensitive vessels and equipment, Port Affairs Division technical specialist Wang Heng-ping (王恒萍) said.

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