A navy Keelung-class destroyer collided with a fishing boat in Suao Port this morning, while in the port of Kaohsiung another Keelung-class destroyer was hit by a chemical tanker trying to berth at the port.
At the Port of Suao in Ilan County, shortly before 8:00am, navy destroyer DDG-1801 hit a fishing vessel from behind as both were underway. The fishing boat captain, Wang Shingshen (王興盛) accused the warship of traveling too quickly.
The fishing boat had a crew of 7, none of whom were injured. The fishing boat’s hull was damaged and Captain Wang estimates repairs will cost several hundred thousand NTD. The destroyer suffered no visible damage. Wang said it was like a stone hitting an eggshell.
Navy command issued a press release claiming that the navy ship was not at fault in the incident, as the fishing boat had engaged in the custom of “grabbing the bow,” and that the navy will engage with fishermen to reduce such incidents.
The custom of “Grab the Bow:” Fisherman often wait for a large vessel to leave port, overtake them and cross in front of the departing ship. This is believed to bring good luck for a harvest, and the luck is double if the ship is a warship.”
However, a report in Liberty Times Network pointed out that the fishing boat was departing the port, while the navy ship was entering the port, which does not fit the custom.
In the Port of Kaohsiung, around half an hour later, Keelung-class destroyer No. 1803, was hit by a 12,394 gross tonnage chemical tanker, the Everrich 3.
At around 8:30am, the Japanese-built, Vietnamese-owned, Panamanian-registered chemical tanker was attempting to berth at a wharf behind the navy dock, but the tanker came in at too sharp an angle and hit the destroyer in the stern.
Nobody was injured in the incident. The destroyer was slightly damaged in the stern, and the Everrich 3 sustained a dent in the bow.
Coincidentally, although the accidents happened at ports either end of Taiwan, the two naval ships involved are sister ships. The Keelung class destroyers were formerly Kidd-class destroyers originally built by the USA for the Shah of Iran. However, the Shah was overthrown before the vessels could be delivered, and the ships were incorporated into the US Navy fleet. The Kidd-class destroyers were sold to Taiwan in 2001.