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Chinese vessel makes historic first visit to Honolulu

    2012 September 4 CTY - Chinese Ship - The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship, Haixun 31, ties up at its berth at Pier 10, Aloha Tower. HSA photo by Bruce Asato

A Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship made a historic first visit to Honolulu and the United States today to improve civilian maritime cooperation as disputes continue to roil relations in the South China Sea.

The 370-foot Haixun 31 was escorted into Honolulu Harbor by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Galveston Island and the Honolulu Fire Department fireboat Moku Ahi, which arced jets of water into the air.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Safety Administration — which is separate from the China Coast Guard — will conduct a joint search and rescue exercises. The ship is expected to leave Hawaii Saturday.

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