TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Taiwan Coast Guard on Thursday (Aug. 15) released a statement addressing a news report that a Chinese warship had accidentally lost some military equipment in a collision with a Taiwan freighter on the night of July 31.
On Wednesday (Aug. 14) Taiwanese media outlet China Times claimed that in the collision, some type of lidar fire-control radar was dislodged from the deck of the unidentified Chinese warship and landed on the deck of the Taiwanese freighter YuTai No. 1 (友泰一號). The Coast Guard has dismissed the claims of the report, stating that the officials which responded to the incident found no such device on the deck of the Taiwanese ship.
In the press release, the Coast Guard stated that when its inspection team first boarded the Yutai No. 1 in waters near Kinmen, there was no such "light detection and ranging radar (lidar)" or "gun fire-control radar" on the deck of the ship described by the China Times article.
When the ship was brought to port in Kinmen, it was also inspected by agents from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Maritime and Port Bureau. A report on the findings of the inspection was filed with the MOTC the day after the incident (Aug. 1), according to the Coast Guard statement.
Observers have noted that it is unlikely radar equipment would be so poorly secured to a naval vessel that it would be dislodged during a collision at sea. Even before the questionable report, there was already plenty of suspicion surrounding the incident, including questions about the identity and conduct of the Chinese vessel as well as the potential failure of one or both ships’ radar systems.
Unless evidence can be provided to validate the initial report, the press release from the Coast Guard calls the China Times' credibility into question.