The Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration (CGA) has intercepted Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members.
A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet at about 5am on Wednesday, Taipei Times reported Friday.
The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor their location.
The Kaohsiung and the Penghu cornered a 7,539-tonne Chinese vessel that was mining sand, and the Penghu deployed a water cannon against it, the coast guard said.
The two boats closed in on the intruder and 17 coast guard personnel were able to board it, the agency said.
The 10 member crew aboard the Chinese vessel, including the captain, was detained and it was escorted to Kaohsiung’s Singda Harbor, the CGA said.
Meanwhile, The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has been holding frequent and intensive amphibious landing and naval drills to send warnings to Taiwan “secessionists.”
Some of the recent exercises featured amphibious tanks storming the beaches and civilian ships transporting tanks and armored vehicles across the sea. Ongoing drills may feature the test firing of new weapons like the JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile or the electromagnetic railgun, Global Times reported.
The PLA 73rd Group Army recently conducted a live-fire assessment in a location on the southeastern coast, in which 68 amphibious tanks stormed the beaches from the sea in a coordinated attack under a rough sea situation, as the tanks launched concentrated main gun shooting and released smoke to camouflage the assault.