Under the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Maritime Traffic Safety and other relevant regulations, domestic/foreign commercial vessels are not allowed to sail in any channel in the Miaodao Archipelago except the Changshan channel and Laotieshan channel.

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These navigation-restricted areas have been published on the ECDIS, navigation warnings and notice to operators. However, accident of vessels passing through the navigation-restricted areas occurs from time to time since as vessels, especially foreign vessels, were not familiar with/aware of the restriction on navigation.

As per information from Yantai MSA, foreign ships often wrongfully pass through the navigation-restricted areas around Miaodao Archipelago. In fact, around around ten cases took place annually in the recent three years.

Although it might reduce sailing time and distance for vessels sailing in such navigation-restricted areas around Miaodao Archipelago, there are submerged reefs and fishery farms which may result in ships' grounding and/or damaging the fishery farms.

Nevertheless, vessels passing through the navigation-restricted areas will face the local MSA's maritime investigation on board and possible administrative penalty of the relevant regulation. This may lead to time and economic loss to ship owners.

Credit: Huatai Marine