Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chinese Fishing Ships Get the Attention of Chile's Navy

No fish, no foul
The Navy scrambled a patrol ship and a couple of aircraft after a flotilla of Chinese fishing vessels suddenly showed up in Chilean territorial waters. A fast-deployment force boarded the ships but found no evidence of illegal fishing, so the Chinese fishermen were allowed to continue. A separate group of Chinese fishing boats was boarded off the island of Chiloe. It was unusual to find Chinese boats that far into the eastern Pacific, and it made for an awkward situation for China, which is wooing Chile for space and military deals. Chile has an exclusive economic zone that runs 200 miles off the shoreline. Fishing and fish farming are some of Chile's most important industries, and shipping lanes are vital to the country's foreign trade. But with only eight surface warships and three offshore patrol vessels capable of reaching the deeper waters of that zone, there are plenty of coverage gaps. In fact, it was Chilean fishermen who spotted the Chinese boats, not the Navy. Several reconnaissance aircraft share patrol responsibilities, but they also seem inadequate in number to watch over an area that is five times larger than Chile's land mass. In addition, Chile has search and rescue responsibilities for an even larger ocean zone that spans about 1 1/2 times the total surface area of South America. Chile is building a fourth offshore patrol vessel, and has plans for a fifth. There are no immediate plans to add long-range airplanes. The few P-3 Orions are being refurbished extensively.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Expect more intrusions in the future,China is the main commercial partner of Chile and this gives leverage to blackmail Chile in the future. The present incident was a test only. The most productive marine ecosystem is under the apetite of 1500 millions of Chinese that love marine products.