S. Korean CG Boat Rammed and Sunk by Chinese F/V


This photo released by South Korean Defense Ministry on June 10, 2016 shows South Korean patrol boats forcing Chinese fishing boats from disputed waters.(Photo by AFP)

This is one of several reports I have seen. A 4.5 ton South Korean “speed boat” (probably around 30 foot or 8 to 10 meter) has been rammed and sunk by a Chinese fishing vessel believed to have been over 100 tons. There were no casualties.

Reports are somewhat confusing, but, the way I interpret the reports, there was a large fleet of Chinese vessels fishing illegally in South Korean waters. A boarding party of eight had boarded one of the fishing vessels leaving one man still in the boat. A second Chinese fishing vessel rammed the boat as it lay alongside the fishing vessel probably crushing it. The one man aboard was recovered safely.

It is not clear to me how the boarding party got off the first fishing vessel or why the vessel was not detained.

A diplomatic protest has been filed with the Chinese.

Thanks to Luke for bringing this to my attention.

S. Korea Transfers Ship to Colombia for Drug Enforcement

MarineForum, 23 July, is reporting

“The Colombian navy will be given a decommissioned (in service 1983, out of service 2011) South Korean corvette …for anti-drug operations … part of South Korean plans to boost arms exports to Latin America) (rmks: dates given seem to indicate DONG HAE class 755 AN YANG)

Coast Guard units may have an opportunity to work with this vessel. Here are the specs for the ship found in Wikipedia. No helicopter deck, but perhaps that might be changed, otherwise looks like a good addition for drug enforcement.

Displacement: 1,076 tonnes (1,059 long tons; 1,186 short tons)
Length: 78.1 m (256 ft 3 in)
Beam: 9.6 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 2.6 m (8 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: CODOG unit
Speed: Maximum: 31 knots (57 km/h)
Cruising: 15 knots (28 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km)
Crew: 95
Sensors and
processing systems:
EDO 786 hull mounted sonar
Armament: • 1 × OTO Melara 76 mm/62 compact cannon
• 2× Emerson 30mm twin guns
• 1× Bofors 40mm/56 twin guns
• 2× Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes (with 6× Mark 46 torpedoes)
• 12× Mark 9 depth charges

Daewoo builds 20 Largest Ships in the World for Maersk

You may not have noticed, because they don’t necessarily come to the US, but merchant ships are getting BIG. At the end of WWII a typical dry cargo ship (Victory ship) was about 442′ long and 57′ of beam. A typical tanker (T-2) was 502′ x 68′.

Maersk has contracted with S. Korean ship builder Daewoo to build 20 ships that will be the largest in the world. These ships are 400 meters by 59 meters or approximately 1312′ long and 194′ of beam. The hull is larger than that of the newest super carrier now building, SS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) 1092’x134′. (Ford’s overall width will be greater because of the width of the flight deck.)

If you need a demonstration of the fact that size alone is not a major determinate of the cost of a ship–that “steel is cheap and air is free,” these ships will cost about $190M each compared with $13.5B for the Gerald R. Ford and about $700M for the National Security Cutters. (I can’t help but think these would make some bodacious escort carriers.)

For more information on these ships, look here. Additional specs here.

More BIG ships here.

S. Koreans Retake Pirate Mothership, Free Hostages, Kill 8, Capture 5

Some refreshing news on the piracy front. In what must be seen as a unique operation, S. Korean forces stormed a ship, the Samho Jewelry, that had been in the control of pirates for six days, and in a five hour firefight, which included supporting fire from a helicopter and a destroyer, the Choi Young, retook the ship, freed the hostages, killed eight pirates and captured five. Three South Korean military were wounded and one of the hostages wounded, shot in the stomach by a pirate. The ship was also being used as a mothership. So take it, also protects other shipping.

The intensity of the five hour firefight is evident in pictures of the ship in this video. Hundreds if not thousands of rounds were fired, many appear to be heavier than small arms, perhaps 30 mm from the destroyer’s Goalkeeper CIWS which uses the same gun installed on the A-10. The superstructure is riddled with bullet holes. (Photos in this AP article)

This case illustrates the complexity, globalization has brought to the shipping industry. This ship was Maltese flagged, Norwegian owned, S. Korean operated, with a crew of 11 Burmese, eight South Koreans and two Indonesians. Is it any wonder it is hard to figure out who is responsible. I think the old concept that piracy is a universal crime against all flags, has to be applied. We all have a dog in this fight.

In a more familiar scenario, Malaysian commandos retook a vessel under attack by pirates after the crew had taken refuge in a citadel.

Meanwhile the AP reports, “On Thursday, pirates seized the MV Hoang Son Sun, a Vietnamese-owned bulk carrier with a crew of 24, the European Union Naval Force said. The Mongolian-flagged ship…was boarded about 520 miles (840 kilometers) southeast of the port of Muscat, Oman…There are now 29 vessels and 703 hostages being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia.”

Working with Army Air for Coast and Harbor Defense

Here is an interesting explanation of how a command in Korea used a little out of the box thinking to address an unconventional threat. In a bit different circumstances, the NCC (Naval Component Commander) might be Coast Guard, and a similar command arrangement might be useful. (Its also possible Coast Guard units might find themselves in Korea again.)

Thanks to Grandlogistics for the link.

If We Needed Non-Combatant Evac of Korea?

An article in the Atlantic raises the possibility of a sudden requirement to evacuate American citizens (by one count 140,000) and other non-combatants, in case the Korean war suddenly turns hot. The authors go so far as to suggest China might have a role.

At the moment this seems unlikely, but things could change fast

Certainly, if it happens, whatever is available will be inadequate and the Coast Guard might have a role to play, both in providing assets (both ships and aircraft) and exploiting its liaison with counterpart organizations in Asia (even the Russians might help).

Something that might be worth thinking about.

More on the South Korean Sinking–It was a torpedo–What next?

A bit more information about the Korean sinking here.

The South Koreans are in a very awkward situation. It will be interesting (as in the old Chinese curse) to see how this plays out.

Another question is, what kind of craft was used to launch the torpedo? The North Koreans have a wide range of platforms, from early Cold War Era Russian conventional sub designs, to midgets, planning hull semi-submersibles, torpedo boats, and “human torpedoes.” The more unconventional of these craft may make it to Iran and possibly on to terrorist groups.