The Chinese government has approved a set of technical guidelines that require all civilian shipbuilders to ensure that their new vessels are suitable for military use in an emergency, the China Classification Society has revealed, reports Reuters.
The plan will enable China to convert the considerable potential of its civilian fleet into military strength, said the China Classification Society, a shipping industry association, reported the official China Daily.
The Technical Standards for New Civilian Ships to Implement National Defence Requirements cover five categories of vessels - container, roll-on/roll-off, multipurpose, bulk carrier and break bulk.
They establish specifications and design requirements that will mean vessels can serve national defence needs if they are mobilized, the society said in a statement.
Modern naval warfare often requires the mobilization and deployment of a large number of ships while the mass production of naval ships in peacetime is not economically sensible, said Cao Weidong, a researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute in the newspaper.
Therefore, it is a common practice that shipbuilders reserve some military application platforms on their civilian vessels so they can serve the navy in wartime. The Technical Standards for New Civilian Ships to Implement National Defense Requirements is the result of a five-year research project by the shipping body and the military, the paper said.
The United Kingdom requisitioned or refitted a large fleet of civilian ships to support its operations in the 1982 Falklands War, also known as the Malvinas War, and the rapid deployment of these vessels greatly assisted the Royal Navy.