2001 Maritime

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October 10, 2001

The Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and the Honourable David Anderson, Minister of the Environment and Member of Parliament for Victoria, today announced that the $46.7 million competitive contract to build twenty new search and rescue lifeboats has been awarded to Victoria Shipyards of Victoria, BC.

"Maritime search and rescue is a valued and vital service in this country of ours that boasts the longest coastline in the world," said Mr. Dhaliwal. "These twenty new lifeboats will ensure that our SAR specialists across Canada continue to have the best possible equipment to do their job."

"This $46.7 million contract will be a significant boost for the economy of Victoria, bringing with it 45 new jobs each year for the life of the contract," said Mr. Anderson. "I am very pleased that a company from Victoria – a city that knows well the importance of maritime search and rescue - has been awarded this contract."

Funding for the contract is comprised in part from money allocated for the replacement of aging vessels. It also is derived from the C$115.5 million in new funding for Canada’s SAR program to improve the response to distress incidents, announced by Mr. Dhaliwal in July 2000.

Upon completion in 2005, the twenty new lifeboats will be stationed at SAR stations across the country. British Columbia will receive nine of these new vessels including two that will service two new lifeboat stations for which sites have yet to be determined.

In addition to their primary function of SAR, these vessels will also operate in conservation and protection exercises, environmental emergency response, and support to other departmental and governmental programs.

Korea expresses "sorrow" after bodies are dumped into sea
Park Joon-young, the head of the South Korea's Government Information Service today expressed "deep sorrow" about the deaths of 26 illegal migrants who were being smuggled into Korea on a fishing boat from China. They suffocated inside a large, unventilated fish tank where smugglers hid them, police in the South Korean port of Yosu said yesterday .

Upon the discovery, the bodies were dumped into the sea by the ship's crew, police said.

Thirty-four people hiding in another tank that had ventilation survived, police said.

The 60 migrants, described in Korean reports as "ethnic Korean Chinese" reportedly sailed from the port of Ningbo, south of Shanghai, and to have changed ships on October 2 off the Korean coast.

The deaths came to light only when one of the survivors, who landed in Yosu in southern Korea, was picked up after arousing suspicion.

The captain and crew of the 73-ton fishing vessel Taechang-ho were later arrested for dumping the corpses.

Police said the crew claimed that they had thrown the bodies overboard on instructions from a South Korean smuggler on shore, who is now being sought by authorities.

In Beijing today, Sun Yuxi, a foreign ministry spokesman, said that China is demanding active cooperation from Korea  to thoroughly  investigate what he described as "an illegal immigration case organized by transnational criminals."

The Chinese government has always opposed illegal immigration,  taking strong actions against all types of illegal immigration  activities and cooperating actively with related countries and  international organizations, Sun said.