BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- China is planning to recruit more civilian vessels and offshore oil and gas drilling platforms as volunteers for oceanic observation and marine forecasting.
According to a news report posted on the website of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) on Tuesday, the move is aimed at raising China's capacity in oceanic observation, marine forecasting and its prevention and reduction of natural disasters.
China hopes to expand the number of such voluntary vessels, platforms or other man-made structures from several dozen to about 400, said an official with the SOA's natural disaster forecasting and reduction department.
Instruments which automatically collect and transfer monitoring data will be installed on the volunteer vessels or platforms. Provincial maritime administrations will help with the installation and maintenance of the instruments.
China had voluntary observation vessels as early as the 1970s, but their number lagged far behind that of the United States and Germany, which have close to 1,000, according to the official.