New Chinese guideline mandates shipbuilders to build military-capable civilian vessels

The Chinese government recently approved technical guideline requiring all civilian shipbuilders to make sure that their newly built vessels will be capable for military use in case need arises.

The official newspaper of Chinese Communist Party, People’s Daily, writes that the China Classification Society said “Technical Standards for New Civilian Ships to Implement National Defense 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 defense needs if they are mobilized.”

“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,” a researcher from PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute Cao Weidong said.

“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,” Cao said.

Prior to approval of the said technical guideline, only state-owned shipbuilders are considering military use on vessels they build. The new guidelines will help turn private Chinese shipbuilding sector’s strength into military power.