Ships face tighter security ahead of China summit

President Xi Jinping announced that China would host the ninth annual BRICS summit in Xiamen in September. (Credit: Tiger@西北)

China announced new security and inspection measures for vessels calling at the southeastern port of Xiamen.

A notice issued by China’s Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) said foreign-flagged vessels needed to undergo special safety and security inspections before coming into the port between 1 August and 5 September.

The measures are part of the security system being put in place for the annual summit of BRICS nations taking place in Xiamen in September.

Foreign-flagged vessels that call at a Chinese port before calling at Xiamen will be boarded for inspection there, according to the notice seen by IHS Markit. If the previous port of call before Xiamen is foreign, the vessel will receive a special inspection by the maritime authorities of Fujian province.

The inspection will include checking the ship’s security certificate and security officer, gangway control measures, visitor and luggage records, and onboard security drills and systems, the notice said.

Vessel captains will be asked to provide inspectors with a full crew list and records of previous inspections.

“Vessels that navigate, berth, and operate at Xiamen-controlled sea waters on a long-term or fixed-term basis should file a ‘ship information report’ and ‘crew information report’ to the local maritime management authority before 1 June,” the notice said.

Xiamen, China’s seventh-largest container port, had throughput of more than 9.6 million teu in 2016. It has 74 berths and has service links to more than 50 countries.

Authorities said satellite tracking and communications equipment would also be examined during the inspections.

“Vessels without valid AIS or VHF equipment will not be allowed to enter the Xiamen port area. If AIS or VHF are found to be abnormal or damaged after entering Xiamen, vessels should report to the local MSA immediately.”

Chinese-flagged vessels calling at Xiamen from 1 June to 5 September need to apply in advance for a special safety inspection and submit a specified report to authorities.

President Xi Jinping announced at the end of last year that China would host the ninth annual BRICS summit in Xiamen in September as China takes the rotating chair of the group