The PRC's Maritime Safety Administration has a newly-christened ship. Measuring 165 meters in length and displacing 10,700 tons, Haixun 09 is by far MSA's largest ship. Credit: Twitter.

The speed at which China is adding ships to its naval and coast forces has astounded Pentagon officials — the US is now being challenged on just about every front.

We can now add the Haixun 09, China’s largest maritime patrol vessel, which was launched in a shipyard in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China Daily reported.

Built at China State Shipbuilding Corp’s Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, it is expected to go into service next year, where officials said it will help improve maritime traffic governance.

According to the BBC, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam contest China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea. The countries have wrangled over territory for decades but tension has steadily increased in recent years.

Beijing claims an area known as the “nine-dash line” and has backed its claim with island-building and patrols, expanding its military presence there, although it insists its intentions are peaceful.

Meanwhile, the new 165-meter maritime safety patrol vessel has a displacement of 10,700 metric tons and speed of more than 25 knots (46 kilometers per hour), said Yan Peibo, the ship’s chief construction engineer, China Daily reported.

It can sail more than 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 kilometers) at an economical speed of 16 knots and make voyages of more than 90 days.

The ship has a helicopter landing pad and a data center with multiple sets of satellite communication systems, including China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System. The ship’s construction started in May 2019.

Haixun 09 is expected to serve as an important platform for law enforcement, emergency coordination and command and pollution prevention, China Daily reported.

It will help strengthen maritime traffic control and emergency support, ensure safe and smooth maritime transport and safeguard the country’s maritime interests, said Cao Desheng, director of the Maritime Safety Administration of China.

It will also be an important tool for emergency management and cooperation in the global maritime safety sector, he said.

Plans also call for expansion of the maritime patrol fleet capable of long-range, deep-sea operations by banking on technological innovation, China Daily reported.

Haixun 09 has a smart engine room system capable of real-time monitoring of the main propulsion system and power generators. The ship also uses low-sulfur fuel and has a system to remove nitrogen oxides, often found in engine exhaust.