China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has played an indispensable part in helping fishermen cut losses and evade the strong winds and waves during typhoon season.
When typhoon Hagupit, the fourth typhoon this year, approached the coastal areas in eastern China's Fujian Province in early August, all the boats in Sansha Township, Xiapu County were already moored in the bay.
"All of our boats have returned to the harbor thanks to the BeiDou position indicators installed, which allow us to locate the exact position of the boats in real-time and give prompt notification," said Lin Peng with the local marine and fishery enforcement brigade.
In 2019, 12,000 fishing vessels in Fujian began installing the BeiDou position indicators, and a BDS-supported system to assist with emergency response was established.
"The BeiDou position indicator is non-detachable, and the built-in battery can supply power autonomously for five years and realize the real-time location of the boats even when they are in the open waters," said Ma Jianhua, director of the disaster response center of the Fujian provincial department of ocean and fisheries.
Ma added that the BDS-supported system can also help with disaster alarms, automatic identification, information release and sea state early warning, which have significantly improved the safety of fishermen at sea.
"This is the first time the BeiDou position indicators were used in a typhoon," said Ma. "A boat lost power at sea late at night. It would usually take at least five hours for a rescue vessel to reach the ship, but we found some boats nearby through the system. It was pulled back before the typhoon landed."
In addition, the BDS system has also helped the country fight against floods, assist in deformation monitoring, early warning and resident transfer.
Heavy rainfall brought by typhoons can easily lead to secondary disasters such as landslides and mudslides. Using the BDS system to monitor the geological environment is also an important means to reduce typhoon disasters.
At the construction site of a substation in Xiamen, a steep slope about 100 meters long and nine meters high has been posing a threat to the safety of workers.
The issue was solved by two sets of BeiDou geological disaster monitoring devices put into use in June, which provide centimeter-level displacement monitoring accuracy.
"The devices can monitor geological hazards in real-time and report the exact position of any minor situation identified to best ensure the safety of on-site operators," said a staff member with the State Grid Fujian Electric Power Co., Ltd.
Such devices have been installed in some substations near the mountains in Xiamen, Longyan and other cities to guarantee stable power supply in typhoons.