Taiwan public gets glimpse of world's longest-serving submarine

Some waited 5 hours to tour 75-year-old SS-791 Sea Lion submarine

Sea Lion submarine in Keelung Harbor (Taiwan Navy photo)

Sea Lion submarine in Keelung Harbor (Taiwan Navy photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Saturday (Sept. 28), the Taiwan Navy held a public display of the Keelung naval base, showcasing some of the navy’s ships, including the 75-year-old Guppy II-class SS-791 Sea Lion submarine.

The event was organized at the request of the Keelung City government and drew over 120,000 people, which some reports called “unprecedented.” While many visitors were impressed with the Perry-class guided missile frigate the Ming Chuan (銘傳), the Tuo River-class corvette the Liang Jiang (沱江), and the Pan Shi (磐石) fast combat support ship, the crowd’s favorite was undoubtedly the Sea Lion submarine, known as the “granddad” of Taiwan’s sub fleet.

According to a report from UDN, some visitors waited in line over 5 hours for a chance to climb down the ladder into the hull of the old submarine, with long lines forming as soon as the naval base opened its gates at 7:30 a.m. People were still in line at 4:00 p.m., when the event was scheduled to close.

Fortunately for visitors, authorities decided that those who were already waiting in line would still be given the opportunity to tour the ship. UDN reports that the last visitor boarded the vessel at 10:21 p.m. and exited at 10:50 p.m.

Crowds eager to see the Sea Lion Submarine (Taiwan Navy photo)

People in line to tour the submarine (Taiwan Navy photo)

In total, 2,081 members of the public were able to board the famous submarine. The Sea Lion was formerly the USS Cutlass SS-478. It was launched in 1944 and sold to Taiwan in 1973.

Currently, the sub is scheduled to remain on active duty until 2026. The Sea Lion is already the longest-serving submarine in world history.

Photo documenting launch of USS Cutlass, 1944 (U.S. Navy file photo)