TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A week after a mysterious Chinese warship collided with a Taiwanese freighter, the Taiwanese ship's captain says that the collision was followed by a one-hour standoff as the Chinese vessel tried to force the Taiwanese freighter to sail to China.
In a press release issued on Aug. 1 by the Coast Guard Administration, Ocean Affairs Council, the Kinmen-Matsu-Penghu Branch reported that at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the Yutai No. 1 was slammed into by an unidentified Chinese warship 19.5 miles southeast of Liaoluo Port in Kinmen, according to CNA. The Taiwanese ship sustained damage but none of its crew were injured, according to the report.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the 72-year-old captain of the Taiwanese ship Fu Shih-hour said that the commander of the Chinese warship tried to coerce him into navigating his ship into China's port of Xiamen. Fu said he refused the Chinese captain's demands and instead called the Taiwan Coast Guard for help.
Yutai No. 1. (Coast Guard photo)
After receiving the distress signal from Fu, the Kinmen branch of the Coast Guard dispatched PP-10053 to the scene, and PP-10039 was sent to support it. By 10 p.m., PP-10053 established contact with Yutai No. 1 and confirmed that the hull was damaged, but there were no safety concerns and the crew was unharmed.
The Coast Guard said that after an extensive search, PP-10053 established contact with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessel. Fu told Bloomberg that when the Coast Guard arrived, he said they made it clear to the Chinese vessel that "we were in international waters and that we were under no obligation to follow their orders."
Fu said that the Chinese "captain wasn’t happy about it, but had to begrudgingly accept it" because the Taiwanese cargo ship was in international waters. The PLAN ship's captain then said that his vessel had been damaged in the collision as well and needed to return to Xiamen Port for repairs, according to the Coast Guard.
Closer view of damage to ship. (Coast Guard photo)
The PLAN ship refused to stop and submit to inspection and ceased communications with the Taiwanese patrol boat. The Coast Guard said that due to the darkness of the late-night hour, the Chinese ship's number was not clearly visible.
Fu said that he was not able to clearly identify the Chinese ship in the darkness. He told Bloomberg that he could see that it was a military vessel and that it was "at least 100 meters in length."
A source familiar with the situation told China Times that the Chinese warship involved in the accident was one of two PLAN ships that were prowling in the Taiwan Strait near the island of Kinmen on Wednesday night. One of them has never been exposed to the media before.
Type 071 amphibious transport dock. (Baidu photo)
The Type 071 amphibious transport dock "Longhushan" was commissioned late last year, the tonnage of which is only rivaled by China's aircraft carrier "Liaoning" in the PLAN fleet. The other ship is believed to an unknown cruiser.
The Longhushan is 210 meters in length, far longer than Fu's description. The only Chinese warship classified by the U.S. as a cruiser is the new Type 055 which, at 180 meters in length, is a bit closer to Fu's description.
The first Type 055 destroyer in China's fleet, the Nanchang (南昌, DDG-101), was launched on June 28, 2017, and made its public debut at a naval parade held to mark the 70th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) on April 23 of this year. Due to its massive size with a beam of 20 meters and a draft of 6.6 meters for a full load displacement of 13,000 t, the U.S. considers it a cruiser meant to rival the Ticonderoga-class cruiser, which is slightly smaller with a length of 173 m, beam of 16.8 meters, and draft 10.2 meters with a full load displacement of 9,800 t.
Type 055 Destroyer Nanchang. (Weibo photo)
Artist conception of Type 055 Destroyer. (Wikimedia Commons image)