China has promulgated a regulation aimed at better protecting maritime observation resources for collecting continuous and accurate data so as to enhance maritime disaster prevention.
The regulation, published on Wednesday, requires that protection zones are set up surrounding basic maritime observation stations and points, and that "installation of barriers and high-frequency electromagnetic radiation facilities, as well as coast reclamation projects, blasts and waste dumping" be prohibited in the areas.
Construction projects should avoid damaging observation stations. If the damage cannot be avoided, jam-proof facilities or new stations should be built, according to the regulation, which will come into effect on June 1 this year.
It also bans purpresture, impairment or relocation of observation stations by any units or individuals.
In a move to streamline the country's maritime observation activities and minimize costs, the regulation requires that oceanic authorities purchase, install and maintain the equipment for ships and platforms that volunteer for maritime observation.
And observational data scattered among different ocean-observing units should be submitted to the oceanic authorities for the establishment of a unified database, according to the regulation.
Such data should be provided free of charge to help the decision-making of government departments, as well as for disaster prevention and mitigation, national defense and safeguarding public security.
The regulation also provides that international and foreign organizations should abide by Chinese law when conducting maritime observations within Chinese territory.
Moreover, the regulation details rules on guaranteeing the public fast and convenient access to marine forecasts and disaster warnings.
Media outlets designated by local governments at county level or above should publish or broadcast marine forecast and disaster warnings in a timely fashion, according to the regulation.
In order not to mislead the public, "units that are not marine-forecasting government departments and individuals are not allowed to disclose relevant information," it says.
The regulation also specifies penalties, such as warnings, fines and referral to criminal prosecution, for cover-up, missing and delayed report of maritime disasters as well as dereliction of duty in maritime observation and forecasting.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2012)