Fri, Apr 26, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet approves draft oceans act on maritime policy

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Premier Su Tseng-chang smiles at a meeting in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan yesterday approved the Ocean Affairs Council’s draft “basic ocean act,” which proposes designating June 8 as National Oceans Day and compiling a white paper on national marine policy.

The council, which was established in April last year, is tasked with assembling ocean-related regulations implemented by separate government agencies.

The bill with 19 articles aims to make Taiwan a safe and prosperous maritime nation attentive to marine conservation and education, as well as an international participant in maritime affairs, council Department of Comprehensive Planning Director-General Shen Chien-chung (沈建中) told a news conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

To protect and boost the nation’s maritime rights and national security, the government should improve its ability to carry out marine affairs from a globally strategic perspective, the draft says.

Areas of focus include maritime terrorism, plastic pollution, rising sea levels, conservation of marine life, intelligence about foreign military vessels and scientific expeditions, the draft says.

The government should compile a white paper on marine policy within a year after the bill is passed by the Legislative Yuan, and government agencies at various levels should refer to the white paper when adjusting or abolishing policies two years after the bill comes into effect, it says.

To promote World Oceans Day on June 8 and boost public awareness, the bill would also designate that date as National Oceans Day.

The bill is listed as a priority for the current legislative session, Shen said.

The council’s National Academy of Marine Research, which was inaugurated on Wednesday, is also drafting a “sea area management” bill, Shen added.

In related news, the Ministry of Science and Technology is building three new vessels — New Ocean Researcher I, New Ocean Researcher II and New Ocean Researcher III — to replace vesssesls by the same name that are managed by National Taiwan University, National Taiwan Ocean University and National Sun Yat-sen University respectively.

Whether the vessels are to be managed by the universities or by other agencies requires further deliberation, the ministry said, without elaborating further.

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