By Wang Chien-hao and Jake Chung / Personal Reporter, with a personal editor
The government should step up efforts to conduct maritime bathymetric surveys to increase Taiwan’s “sovereign territory data,” Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a researcher at the Defense Research Institute, said on Friday. and national security.
Su made the comments following a National Audit Office report that said Chinese military exercises near Taiwanese waters since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei early last month have severely affected government efforts to conduct marine bathymetric surveys.
The Interior Ministry’s bathymetric surveys, which began in 2004, cover only 27.67 percent of Taiwan’s territorial waters, which cover 53,251 km2, according to the report.
If the sea area close to Taiwan’s territorial waters is included, that total area is 80,000 km2, reducing the coverage of surveys – which mainly record depth and geography – to around 18.24%, it said. he declares.
As of April 15, more than 70% of completed bathymetric surveys were of questionable quality, with 60% of the data being at least 10 years old, which could affect the accuracy of digital maps, he said.
The state of the data is of concern for maritime safety and could affect national security, according to the report.
The geomorphology of the ocean floor is closely linked to the laying of mines, Su said, adding that depth, hydrological regime and currents affect anti-submarine warfare.
“Bathymetric surveys are inseparable from national defense,” Su said.
If the government could cite accurate and up-to-date data on underwater geomorphology in its territorial waters, it would help it deal with foreign claims in disputed waters, he said.
Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩), a former navy lieutenant commander, said a government-led general bathymetric survey is plausible.
However, the government should focus its efforts on critical areas based on military requirements, Lu said.
National Defense Ministry drills, including the Han Kuang drills near Jialutang Beach (加祿堂) in Fangshan Township of Pingtung County (枋山), would benefit from local bathymetric surveys, a- he declared.
The surveys would have allowed the military to determine the most likely landing areas for an invading force and lay mines or tetrapod obstacles to increase the difficulty of such an operation, he said.
The Interior Ministry said it has issued the Water Depth Measurement Regulations (水深測量作業規範) and Depth Standards and Systems (深度基準及深度系統), and is working closely working with the Ocean Affairs Council and other agencies to determine how annual bathymetric surveys should be conducted.
Additionally, it has signed collaboration agreements or memorandums of understanding to facilitate data sharing, he said.
The Home Office is seeking project funding from the National Development Council, hoping to prioritize sea areas with no data to conduct bathymetric surveys, he said.
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