Beijing, March 9 : Escalating the tensions in the South China Sea region, China today said that it will deploy a new, advanced rescue ship capable of conducting air, sea and underwater searches simultaneously.
The ship, Nanhaijiu 102, is the most advanced rescue vessel in the area and will play a role in emergencies, the Chinese Ministry of Transport said.
The all-weather, high-powered rescue ship designed and built by China, is reportedly 127 meters long and 16 meters wide, with displacement of 7,300 tons and range of 16,000 nautical miles.
Approximately 3.5 million square km area of the South China Sea has been under dispute as China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have all claimed sovereignty over this territory. This area of the sea is rich in oil and gas fields.
Also, because a high proportion of the world's trade passes through the South China Sea, there are many non-claimant nations that want the South China Sea to remain as international waters, with several nations such as the USA conducting "freedom of navigation" operations to promote this situation.
The choice of placement of the vessel in the South China Sea is significant as China is firming up its hold on the area with artificial islands.
Chinahas 74 special rescue ships, among which 31 are already in the southern sea areas.In addition, the country has 20 rescue helicopters, according to sources.