Eleven faster and 'greener' marine police vessels made their debut at Joss House Bay in Sai Kung yesterday.
The five medium patrol launches and six fast patrol craft are the first of 42 new vessels - 17 launches, 23 patrol craft and two barges - in a programme costing more than HK$2 billion.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Peter Yam Tat-wing said the new vessels were faster and more flexible than the existing harbour patrol launches.
The new 19-metre patrol launches, which each cost HK$13 million, can hit speeds of 45 knots, 20 knots faster than existing launches.
They come with electronic charts and information display systems, satellite compasses and joysticks that allow them to be easily manoeuvred at speeds up to nine knots. The new 9.88-metre patrol craft, each costing HK$1.8 million, are capable of travelling at 50 knots. Chief Inspector Ng Cheuk-hung, from the marine regional headquarters, said the old vessels needed to be replaced as they were more than 20 years old and expensive to maintain.
'The new vessels are faster and more environmentally friendly because they consume less diesel,' he said. 'We can say that the money spent on them is very reasonable.'
All the old vessels are expected to be replaced by 2010.
He said the new 30-metre barges, each costing HK$9 million, would be moored at Crooked Harbour and Rocky Harbour in Sai Kung, blind spots in the Marine Department's radar system. Chief Inspector Ng said the new barges would help extend radar coverage.
Two marine police vessels ran aground over three days recently.