Taiwan Investigates Two Warship Collisions
On Monday morning, the Taiwan Navy suffered two separate collisions involving its Keelung-class destroyers. At 0735 hours, the fishing boat Chin Fu En collided with the destroyer Keelung at the entrance to the port of Suao, damaging the boat's stern. Taiwan's minister of national defense, Feng Shih-Kuan, alleged that the collision resulted from a local custom in which fishing boats "race the bow" of larger vessels.
Less than an hour after the first collision, the chemical tanker Everrich 3 struck the stern of the destroyer Tso Ying, which was moored at a pier in Kaohsiung. Photos show that the collision caused minor damage to the destroyer's weather deck and hull on the port quarter. The Everrich was reportedly loaded and was shifting between piers within the harbor at the time of collision. No pollution or injuries were reported.
The Taiwan Navy has called on civilian maritime authorities to investigate the Everrich 3 collision, and it has placed all of its vessels on high alert as a precautionary measure.
Taiwan's four Keelung-class destroyers are the former U.S. Navy Kidd-class destroyers. The vessels were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding between 1978 and 1982, and were originally intended for the Shah of Iran's navy – a contract that ended abruptly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Ingalls completed the vessels for the U.S. Navy instead. After their career in American service ended, the ships were upgraded and transferred to Taiwan under a foreign military sales program.