Yongxing Island is home to the government of Sansha, China's southernmost city. (Photo/Xinhua)
China said on Monday its dispatching of a rescue ship to the Nansha Islands shows its commitment to fulfilling its duty in the South China Sea. Dispatched by the Nanhai Rescue Bureau of the Ministry of Transport, the Nanhaijiu 115 set sail for Zhubi Reef from Sanya, Hainan province, on Friday, Xinhua News Agency reported.
It was expected to arrive two days later and will be stationed there for an undetermined period.
One of the most advanced search-and-rescue ships in China, the vessel is fully equipped to carry out various missions, including search and rescue operations, emergency medical services as well as firefighting and oil spill cleanups, and can also adapt to different marine conditions while quickly responding to emergencies, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.
China's construction work on the Nansha Islands and reefs aims not only to improve the lives of people stationed there and enhance their ability to cope with maritime security threats, but also to increase public services in the region, Geng said.
"People's lives on the sea must be treated with the utmost care, so rescues are necessary to ensure safety," Geng said.
He said China is honoring its duties and commitments by sending the ship and is ready to work with other countries in the region to promote cooperation on maritime search and rescue operations.
Designed and built by China, the Nanhaijiu 115 has a heliport that can accommodate medium-sized rescue helicopters.
The ship, which entered service in 2010, has carried out more than 110 rescue missions in the South China Sea, helping more than 1,000 people and more than 60 ships, and has salvaged property worth 10 billion yuan ($1.47 billion), according to Xinhua.
In addition to dispatching the vessel, China has taken other measures to enhance security in the South China Sea.
In May, a Chinese-built tsunami advisory center for the region was launched in Beijing.
The center issues earthquake and tsunami warnings for China and eight other countries in the South China Sea region.