South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that China is developing a super-dredger that will be 50% more powerful than its present super island builder at the moment.
China has unveiled plans to build this supersized sand dredging vessel, as a harbinger of increased grey zone warfare against Taiwan and more militarized island-building in the South China Sea.
A dredger is a vessel that can tear up riverbeds or the seabed with a drill-like reamer device, sucking up sand and rocks and then pumping them through a pipe over a distance. Such vessels are useful for clearing navigation waterways and building artificial islands.
SCMP says that the new suction dredger will feature a 10,000-kilowatt reamer, which will reportedly be the largest in the world, exceeding the power of the 6,600 kilowatts of the Tian Kun, which was commissioned in 2019.
But also larger than the 4,400 kilowatts of the Tian Jing, which in 2013 and 2014 was the main vessel involved in China’s controversial island-building in the contested South China Sea.
The development of the new vessel is not just a simple enlargement in terms of reamer power, hull size, etc, but a qualitative leap forward, said Qin Bin, chief engineer of the Tianjin Waterway Bureau that operates the Tian Kun and Tian Jing.
The unveiling of China’s supersized sand dredger may presage an escalation of its island-building activities in its gray zone operations against Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Taiwan’s Coast Guard expelled 4,000 Chinese sand dredgers and sand-transporting vessels from its waters in 2020, a 560% leap in incursions from 2019.
This characterizes the move as an example of China’s gray zone warfare, which is non-military and not big enough to provoke a military response but is nonetheless damaging.
In the South China Sea, China’s sand dredging activities are inextricably linked with its island-building activities, which aim to achieve strategic advantages.
In a 2021 thesis for the University of Southern Maine, Steven Roy says that China’s island-building aims to increase its military and international trade advantages to control the South China Sea.
China has now created over four-square kilometers of artificial landmass. China is creating a ‘Great Wall of Sand’, with dredges and bulldozers, over the course of months.
Marie-Alice McLean-Dreyfus writes in an April 2016 article for the Lowy Institute that China’s “Great Wall of Sand” parallels the Great Wall of China because the latter failed in its original purpose to keep nomadic invaders away.
In line with Roy’s statements, McLean-Dreyfus says that the “Great Wall of Sand” can backfire, making regional states more aggressive in pushing their territorial claims, leading to an arms race in Asia.
Asia Times / ABC Flash Point News 2023.
Dutch losing their industry, now the Emirates will have a choice if they want to build more desert ocean resorts?
That might be one of the many consequences of Chinese development nowadays?