Viet Nam has begun a trial project to automatically monitor the movement of fishing boats using satellite technology to improve any rescue efforts.
HA NOI —
The project is being managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Chu Tien Vinh, deputy head of the Directorate of Fisheries, said that at present, fishing boats were only monitored by walkie-talkie systems, which often had difficulty keeping in touch with boats.
"Rescuers have to ask where the distressed ships are before any help can be offered," he said.
To complicate matters, fishermen sometimes gave misleading information to hide the location of a good fishing ground, he added.
Under the new project, 3,000 boats will be equipped with satellite signal systems that will provide information on storms, tropical pressure systems and northern monsoons sent from land bases.
The authorities will also be able to watch over the ships more effectively, even ships owned by those who do not wish to co-operate.
Vessel control centres will be established in Ha Noi, Hai Phong and HCM cities to monitor the operation of the boats.
Le Thanh Hai, deputy director of the National Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting, praised the move, saying that more natural calamities could be expected as climate change took hold.
The cold air from north-east monsoons could even lead to tornadoes, threatening the safety of fishing boats and fishermen, he said.
Three weeks ago, strong winds from the north-east monsoon overflowing into the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf, where the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands are located, caused 25 vessels to sinks and claimed seven lives. As many as 48 people are still missing. — VNS