China Marine Surveillance

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The insignia of China Marine Surveillance

The China Marine Surveillance (中国海监or CMS), founded in 1998, is a comprehensive maritime law enforcement agency operating under the State Oceanic Administration. Externally it safeguards the maritime rights and interests on behalf of the state, and internally it safeguards the sea island development order and protects maritime environment in accordance with the law. Currently, CMS includes more than 10,000 law enforcement officials, 10 aircrafts, and more than 400 vessels including 27 vessels of 1,000-tonnage or above. By the end of 2005, China had started the construction of a maritime surveillance monitoring management system in accordance with the law. So far, a nationwide system has been created which includes three state-level command centers, 11 provincial-level ones and 49 municipal-level ones, employing over 600 technical staff.

The main responsibilities of CMS are to carry out regular patrols and inspections of China's territorial waters and shorelines in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. It investigates and deals with violations of any maritime rights or interests, the illegal use of sea areas, the damaging of the marine environment and its resources, and the disrupting of maritime order. It also conducts other actions of maritime law enforcement when entrusted or authorized.

On Sept. 14, 2012, two formations of CMS ships arrived in the waters of the Diaoyu Islands and started patrols and law enforcement in the area. It is the first time that CMS ships have patrolled the area after the Chinese government announced on Sept. 10, 2012, the baselines of the Diaoyu Islands' territorial waters as well as the names and coordinates of 17 base points.