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Shipping services resumed, joint response mechanism on agenda

27 February 2018Shipping News

Shipping services resumed, joint response mechanism on agenda

Stranded vehicles line up for miles in Hainan, waitting for a ferry back home. [Photo/Zhanjiang Daily]

 

Zhanjiang's New Hai'an Port resumed shipping services on Feb 23. Joining two other ports north of the Qiongzhou Straits, it began to assist passengers and vehicles stranded in Hainan province due to heavy fog.

Since Feb 15, ferry services across the straits have been suspended 14 times, which lasted for over 70 hours and has been the biggest disruption since 1951. This led to thousands of travelers and vehicles being trapped on the island.

Things got even worse when Hainan freighter Xinying F069 sank after colliding with passenger ferry Haikou 9 on Feb 22. The unexpected accident blocked the shipping lanes off New Hai'an Port in Xuwen county.

Zhanjiang Maritime Safety Administration worked overnight to locate the sunken freighter and clear it from waterways. One-way navigation was resumed the same day and shipping services of both directions went back to normal on Feb 23.

 

Shipping services resumed, joint response mechanism on agenda

New Hai'an Port staff instruct passengers to use self-service ticket machine. [Photo by Lin Shizhan/Zhanjiang Daily]

 

In order to ride out the return trip peak, Guangdong maritime authorities have pledged tighter controls, such as stricter ship inspections, more vigilant supervision of voyages and frequent forecasts of weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Zhanjiang Mayor Jiang Jianjun and Zhang Qi, deputy Party secretary of Haikou who inspected Xuwen on Feb 22, proposed to establish a joint emergency response mechanism and to accelerate the construction of a half-hour transportation circle across the straits.

A specific focus will be put on the cargo-passenger ro-ro terminal at Xuwen Port's Nanshan work zone, which is expected to slash cross-straits travel times to an hour upon its completion in October. A total of 18 berths will be in service during the 2019 Spring Festival travel rush.

Furthermore, a test flight from Haikou heading for Xuwen was launched successfully on April 28, 2017. As planned, the cargo-passenger ro-ro terminal will earmark a dedicated apron for helicopters commuting between the two locations.

 

Shipping services resumed, joint response mechanism on agenda

Volunteers and staff provide refreshments to passengers. [Photo by Lin Ping/Zhanjiang Daily]