It is internationally recognized that regional emergency cooperation in marine pollution control is the most effective way to prevent marine pollution. Such regional cooperation has been established in many of the maritime areas around the world.
In recent years, both Taiwanese and mainland Chinese scholars have agreed that we all should protect the environment of the Taiwan Strait together and make many suggestions to work in partnership to promote future cooperation against pollution. In particular, by signing the Cross-Strait Sea Transport Agreement in the second Chiang-Chen talk, the shipping routes in the Taiwan Strait will be more complicated, and the risk of oil spill pollution will increase. To reduce the risk of oil spills caused by direct cross-strait shipping, we should work out a cooperation plan together with China to protect the environment of the Taiwan Strait.
Comparing the laws for the prevention of marine pollution between Taiwan and mainland China, we find that the Marine Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China is the major law for marine pollution control in mainland China, which authorizes pollution control and emergency systems for such things as coastal engineering projects, undersea oil exploration, shipping, waste dumping, and pollutants from the land. In Taiwan, the Marine Pollution Control Act is the major law for marine pollution control. In addition, oceanic ecological protection, and environmental impact evaluation are specifically regulated by various laws.
We should build up a channel of communication to work out a cooperation plan with China to reduce the risk caused by the heavy ocean traffic across the strait and to promote cooperation during oil spill responses. According to the regulations of the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, the channel of communication must be appointed by a competent authority, confirmed by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and then the cooperation plan worked out together with China. As a cooperation model, we suggest it design according to the OPRC 1990 convention, and be based on contingency planning, manpower, and equipment so that both sides support each other. We can work out what we should do in cooperation at first; as we get to know each other, we can build up the whole cooperation plan step by step. Meanwhile, we will also work on an interactive staff-response training project.
As relations across the strait become closer, the shipping routes will be more complex, and the risk of oil spills will rise. Therefore, we should work on a Taiwan Strait shipping-traffic service network to keep shipping safe in the Taiwan Strait.