As an island sitting astride the Eurasian and Philippine plates, Taiwan is home to a spectrum of rich and varied ocean ecosystems and cultures. The surrounding seas contain a wealth of resources, presenting a perfect opportunity for development. For many years the nation has continuously promoted both basic and applied oceanography, as well as invested in training more oceanographic researchers. Uniquely Taiwanese maritime industries have also expanded.
To further improve oceanographic research capabilities, Taiwan is assembling a fleet of ocean research vessels that will also help establish and defend the nation's exclusive economic zone, in addition to protecting against harm and loss of life. Even more, the fleet has a role to play in securing Taiwan's strategic position in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific, protecting the nation at sea, and shaping the new values of a maritime nation.
Achievements and future areas of research
◆ Build fleet and strengthen capabilities: Taiwan's largest research vessel, Legend, was launched in 2018. It is being joined by New Ocean Researcher vessels 1, 2 and 3 to form a fresh fleet of domestically designed and constructed ocean research ships. The fleet preserves the nation's marine research and development capabilities while also strengthening exploration competencies, both areas that are critical to performing multidisciplinary basic research for a sustainable maritime nation. This research will yield innovative technologies for ocean ecosystem conservation and industrial applications.
◆ Perform groundbreaking research to improve citizens' lives: Projects such as building a network of observation buoys in the western North Pacific will allow Taiwan to contribute to international disaster prevention work. Research efforts will also aid in the development of natural gas hydrates as an undersea energy source.
◆ Advance sustainability through deeper regional cooperation: The work of ocean research vessels is being expanded to encompass big data analytics and regional oceanographic research, as well as extreme weather, climate change and ocean environments. This broadened scope will enable Taiwan to assert key scientific and territorial stakes in the geopolitics of the western Pacific islands.