China issues notice to vessels entering Yangtze estuary

From August 15th vessels entering the Yangtze Estuary Deep Ware Channel (the “North Channel”) vessels will be required within 12 hours prior to entry to test their engines, rudders, communication and emergency equipment to ensure they are in good technical condition, American Club correspondent Huatai Insurance Agency & Consulting Services Ltd has stated.

The North Channel refers to the channel between the western boundary line of the Precautionary Area “A” of Yangtze Estuary Ship’s Routing System and the eastern side of the Yuanyuansha Precautionary Area, which has a total length of 43 nm.

No less than four hours prior to entering the North Channel, the completed form shall be submitted by e-mail to the Wusong VTS Centre at [email protected]

For inbound vessels, the arrival time to the D3 light buoy shall be deemed as the time of entering the North Channel. For outbound vessels, the arrival time at the Yuanyuansha light vessel shall deemed to be the time of entering the North Channel.

Meanwhile, Gard has warned members to be aware of the risk of collision with fishing vessels in Chinese waters. Gard said that “every year we handle claims of collisions between merchant and fishing vessels in Chinese waters. As the seasonal fishing ban comes to an end in China, ship operators and masters are advised to take additional precautions when planning a voyage to and from Chinese ports due to the increased number of fishing vessels in Chinese waters.”

Gard added that “considering the difference in size and momentum between merchant vessels and fishing boats, such incidents can result in not only severe damage to the fishing boats but also loss of life. According to China MSA, during the period 2019 to 2021, collisions between merchant and fishing vessels have resulted in 248 fishermen losing their lives.”