Guangdong, Macau step up maritime rescue efforts

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Issue 1017, Page 3
Word count: 487
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Maritime casualties in Macau waters are believed to be minimized to the lowest possible level in the future, thanks to the formal cooperation mechanism established with the Guangdong authority.

The Maritime Administration of Macau and the Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Centre signed an agreement of co-operative arrangements in the territory yesterday.

According to director of the Maritime Administration Susana Wong Soi Man, it was necessary to “make good use of the search and rescue resources in the Pearl River Delta and further strengthen maritime search and rescue capability” in response to the rapid economic development in the Pearl River Delta region and the increase in marine traffic these days.

She said the signing of the co-operative arrangements will help Guangdong and Macau establish a “strong and effective” cooperation mechanism, so that they can use each other’s maritime search and rescue resources once accidents occur in order to ensure prompt and timely actions.

In addition, the agreement includes the setting up of a Guangdong-Macau search and rescue resources database, annual training and exchange programs, irregular cross-regional drills as well as to reinforce bilateral communication and information exchange.

“Since it’s necessary to mobilise a lot of human power and resources immediately to carry out rescue work so that casualties, losses and damages could be minimised, the SAR government is gradually increasing resources in maritime search and rescue and the co-operative arrangements can further optimise the allocation and use of bilateral resources,” Wong said.

Meanwhile, deputy director the Guangdong Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, Huang Zhongzhong, said the signing of the co-operative agreements facilitated the “standardisation and procedural steps” of maritime search and rescue between the two places, which “implies a major significance to the protection of marine environment and the reduction of maritime casualties and property damage”.

Huang said since 2000, Guangdong and Macau had cooperated for 22 times in maritime search and rescue and saved the lives of 263 people.

Meanwhile, Susana Wong Soi Man said on June 10 the Maritime Administration and the Guangdong counterparts will carry out a large-scale drill, in a bid to test the cooperation between the two places.

Water tariffs

On the other hand, the Maritime Administration director told reporters the SAR government is still studying the introduction of a new water tariff mechanism.

She said the mechanism will mainly consist of two different prices of respectively residential and commercial use.

She expected that the proposal can be finalised this month and it is hoped that it can be launched for public consultation in June.

According to the research implemented by the Working Group for the Establishment of a Water-Saving Society in March, it was found that Macau people tended to have the habit of wasting water and there was room for improvement in their water-saving awareness.

In addition, the findings showed that residents generally agreed that adjustments in water tariffs could help promote water-saving and accepted a progressive water tariff structure.

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