Sites chosen for Xisha lighthouses to give ships ‘extra eyes’
The sites of five lighthouses to be built on islands in the Xisha waters have been selected, the Navigation Guarantee Center of the South China Sea said on Thursday.
Navigation services in the waters are currently very basic — there is a shortage of maps of islands and no differential GPS network.
The center said the lack of information created difficulties for ships wishing to anchor over coral reefs.
A team of lighthouse construction experts has been sent to conduct research at the five locations.
The sites have been chosen because they meet a number of criteria — they are accessible, provide shelter from water and wind erosion and are suitable for the provision of navigation support.
Cheng Hong, a member of the team, said research and data collection was being carried out to assist the future construction of the lighthouses.
“Based on the weather and wave situation, the operation will last for about a month,” he said.
The Xisha waters are administered by Sansha, the country’s southernmost city, in Hainan province. It is responsible for more than 200 small islands, sand banks and reefs.
Xiao Jie, Sansha’s mayor, said the lighthouses would significantly contribute to the city’s economic growth and the development industries.
Huang Kexiong, 44, a fisherman from Tanmen county, Hainan province, welcomed news of the project.
“It is not hard for veteran maritime pilots to anchor over reefs in the Xisha waters, but lighthouses will be a great help on windy and rainy days,” he said.
“They will reduce the risk of being stranded when taking refuge in harsh weather.”
Jinqing is one of the five islands chosen for the project. Huang said mariners often sought shelter from strong winds there, and a lighthouse was needed on the southwestern part of the island.
Zhang Tianfu, the captain of a fishing vessel based in Sanya, Hainan province, said lighthouses are like extra eyes that help captains to avoid submerged rocks.
Sun Li contributed to this story.