Beijing: A report by the Supreme People's Court (SPC) on Sunday said the country will set up an international maritime judicial centre in its latest bid to protect national sovereignty and maritime rights. Courts across China shall work to implement the national strategy of building the country into a "maritime power", Xinhua quoted Chief Justice Zhou Qiang as saying. "(We) must resolutely safeguard China's national sovereignty, maritime rights and other core interests," Zhou told nearly 3,000 lawmakers. "(We) must improve the work of maritime courts and build an international maritime judicial centre." According to the chief justice, some 16,000 maritime cases were concluded by Chinese courts last year, the most in the world. The country is also home to the largest number of maritime courts globally speaking, he added. Earlier reports said that some 225,000 cases involving over 70 countries and regions were handled by China's maritime courts in the three decades between 1984, when the first such court was set up, and 2013. Close to 8,000 vessels, of which 1,660 were foreign, were detained and 663 were auctioned off during that period. One notable case, Zhou said, involved a Chinese fishing boat Minxiayu 01971 which took damage in a collision with a Panama-flagged cargo ship in waters off the Diaoyu Islands in September 2014. The owner of the Chinese ship brought the case to Xiamen maritime court in China which was ended via mediation. The case clearly demonstrated China's jurisdiction over the region, the chief justice said.