Lawmakers across party lines proposed to allocate a portion of the fines imposed on Chinese vessels found trespassing in Taiwanese waters to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA), as part of efforts to boost the morale of officials at the agency.
Amid increasing incidents of Chinese vessels fishing and mining sand in the nation’s territorial waters, the lawmakers proposed amending the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) and redirect such funds to the CGA to cover operational costs and performance bonuses.
The proposal was made by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators Yang Yao (楊曜) and Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國), Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Hsuen-sheng (陳雪生) and Chen Yu-jen (陳玉珍), and Independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇).
Photo courtesy of the Coast Guard Administration’s Penghu Branch
The number of vessels intercepted by the CGA over the past three years totaled 3,803, including 290 ships seized and 81 confiscated, the lawmakers said.
A total of 194 ships were fined during the period, with fines totaling NT$193.2 million (US$6.69 million at the current rate), it added.
All of the funds were directed to the public treasury per the Act Governing the Allocation of Government Revenues and Expenditures (財政收支劃分法), the proposal said, adding that the CGA should also profit.
The budget allocated to the agency to patrol the nation’s territorial waters was NT$5.52 million from 2018 to last year, while the agency spent NT$5.86 million, the proposal said.
Article 80 of the allocation act should be amended to redirect part of the fines to agency, to partly cover the costs of its patrol missions, the proposal said.
The coast guard’s tasks are energy-consuming and dangerous, as it often has to deal with strong opposition from the crew on board the vessels found trespassing, the lawmakers said, adding that the amendment would also improve the agency’s human-resources situation.
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