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Pratas Island Airfield
2042'15"N 11643'14"E

As of the late 1990s, the longest runway on Pratas Island was reportedly 4,921 feet long. Pratas [Tungsha] Islands comprise Tungsha Island and two coral reefs, North Vereker Bank and South Vereker Bank.

The archipelago is located in a strategically important position along the major sea route connecting the Pacific and Indian oceans, between 11640' and 11655'E longitude, and 2035' and 2047'N latitude. The group is 140 nautical miles south of Swatow in Guangdong Province, 400 nautical miles northwest of Manila, 170 miles southeast of Hong Kong, and 240 nautical miles southwest of Kaohsiung. Tungsha Island is a coral atoll with a land area of 2.4 sq. km. Shaped like a horseshoe, it extends 0.9 km from east to west, and 2.7 km from north to south. Among these islands, only Tungsha is always above water. North and South Vereker Banks are completely submerged at high tide. On June 30, 1989, the ROC government set up a national monument on Tungsha Island to assert its sovereignty over the archipelago.

Tungsha Islands enjoy a subtropical climate, which is influenced by northeast winds during the winter. They experience their warmest weather in June, with an average temperature of 29.5C. Temperatures are lowest in December, when the average is 22.2C.

The areas around Tungsha provide excellent fishing grounds, and ROC fishermen visit the region during March and April. In addition to being a source of salt, fish, and minerals, the islands were an outpost for the ROC navy in the South China Sea. A hospital, power station, and runway have been set up on Tungsha Island. A fishermen's service center also provides fishermen operating in the South China Sea with emergency shelter. There are three jetties and an onshore service center which gives directions to fishing boats.

Taiping/Spratly island and Pratas island/Tung Sha island are no longer under ROC military control. The two islands were initially guarded by ROC Marines, but that responsibility has now fallen to either the ROC Coast Guard Command or Police which posted personnel on those 2 islands.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:31:14 ZULU