Navy launches high-speed patrol boat
|South Korea’s Navy unveiled an advanced patrol boat yesterday in Busan. It will be deployed in 2008 near the disputed maritime border with North Korea in the Yellow Sea. By Song Bong-geun|
The Navy yesterday launched an advanced high-speed patrol boat, equipped with guided missiles, that will be deployed next year near the disputed maritime border with North Korea.
The 440-ton vessel, 63 meters (207 feet) long and 9 meters wide, can sail at a maximum speed of 74 knots (137 kilometers, or 85 miles) per hour and carry a crew of more than 40 people.
It is also loaded with 76-mm (3-inch) and 40-mm guns as well as cutting-edge radar systems, according to naval officials.
The ship is the first of the Navy’s PKX high-speed naval boats that will replace its aging 150-ton Chamsuri model patrol boats.
It will be commissioned in the first half of 2008 after trials testing its capabilities, officials said.
The ship is named the Yoon Young-ha, after a naval officer who was killed in a 2002 inter-Korean naval clash near the Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea. The line has served as a de-facto maritime border between the Koreas since the 1950-53 Korean War, although North Korea does not recognize it.
Yoon was the head of a Chamsuri patrol boat sunk during a skirmish provoked by the North in 2002.
Six South Korean soldiers were killed and 18 others wounded in the clash, while more than 30 North Korean soldiers were killed or injured, the Navy said.
In yet another move that may irritate the North, the Navy appointed as head of the new vessel Lieutenant Commander Ahn Ji-young, a hero of a 1999 clash near the limit line, the first sea battle between North and South since the Korean War. At least 30 North Korean soldiers were killed and more than 70 others wounded, according to the Navy. Only nine South Korean soldiers were injured, and there were no deaths.
Families of the soldiers killed in the 2002 conflict attended the ceremony launching the patrol boat yesterday at a shipyard of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. in Busan. Yonhap