Rieko Suda of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Thursday (21 May) published an update on Japan’s defence ministry’s decision to include two oil tankers to bolster its patrolling navy vessels in the East China Sea area as tensions re-escalate between Tokyo and Beijing:
Japan’s defence ministry has placed an order for two oil tankers, its first such dedicated vessels to support patrolling navy vessels particularly in the East China Sea area.
Japanese shipbuilder Shin Kurushima Dockyard has received an order from the ministry to build two 4,900 deadweight tonne tankers for delivery targeted in April and July 2022. The two tankers are expected to be able to carry around 30,000 lb each of marine fuel and will be built at the firm’s Hashihara shipyard in Ehime prefecture’s Imabari.
The Japanese government had allocated ¥6bn ($55mn) for the planned construction of Japan’s first dedicated navy tankers as part of the country’s ¥5 trillion defense budget in the April 2019-March 2020 fiscal year. The navy is aiming to secure refuelling capability for its patrol vessels at frontline bases, particularly in Okinawa, without private-sector co-operation.
Tensions have re-escalated between Tokyo and Beijing over the growing presence of Chinese coast guard vessels in the disputed East China Sea area. The Japanese government earlier this month formally lodged a protest with the Chinese government, claiming a local fishing boat off the disputed Diaoyu, or Senkaku, islands was harassed by a Chinese coast guard vessel.
Tokyo was hoping the planned April visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping would help improve Sino-Japanese relations and revive an agreement on joint natural gas development in the East China Sea. But the visit was cancelled in March as both countries needed to prioritise the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Source and photo credit: Argus Media
Published: 22 May, 2020
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