Taiwan Coast Guard activated in swine fever screening

Taiwan Coast Guard sea arrays. Credit: Asia Defence News

As African swine fever spreads across Asia, the Taiwan Coast Guard has been mobilised to ensure that the island, which has yet to see an outbreak, will not be hit.

With less than two weeks to go before the Lunar New Year celebrations, the coastguard has stationed patrol vessels around Taiwan’s busiest port, Kaohsiung, to deter the smuggling of agricultural products and livestock.

On 14 January 2020, Fifth Patrol Team, Fifth Coastal Patrol Team, Kaohsiung Investigation Team, Fengshan Investigation Team, and other units deployed 2 patrol vessels, 9 vehicles, and 42 personnel to implement customs clearance, port security, and inter-shore inspections.

The objective is to equip high-tech equipment such as night-vision goggles and portable thermal imagers to launch a powerful sweep of the Kaohsiung port area.

African swine fever has spread across China, killing hundreds of pigs, with the virus spreading to most of Asia, including Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, North Korea, the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Laos. China produces and consumes two-thirds of the world’s pork supply and the outbreak has caused pork prices to soar.

Taiwan, being one of the very few countries that has not yet been hit by African swine fever, is therefore, raising its alert levels.

The Taiwan Coast Guard said, “The African swine fever epidemic has continued to spread in China, and neighbouring countries have been affected. Taiwan is one of the few Asian countries that hasn’t been hit yet. Furthermore, demand for agricultural products during the Spring Festival is increasing, so we have to carry out strong law enforcement.”