A ship that took part in action in World War II as part of the US Navy, and during the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1958 as part of the ROC Navy, was sold as scrap metal, despite protests from military historians and enthusiasts.
The Chung Hai (LST-201) began life as the USS LST-755 tank landing ship in 1944, and was used by the US Navy in two landing operations in the Philippines.
After World War II it was sold to the ROC Navy. In August 1958, it was involved in a battle to repel an attempted invasion of Kinmen and Matsu islands by the People’s Republic of China. During the battle it was claimed to have sunk two PLA torpedo boats, and was damaged and almost sunk after sustaining torpedo hits to the stern.
The Chung Hai was decommissioned in 2010, being the last ROC Navy ship to have seen service in battle still in operation at the time.
After decommissioning, the Kinmen County Government intended to acquire it for museum purposes, but in 2018, decided the cost was too high. At that time, the navy considered using the ship as target practice for live fire exercises.
Military historians and enthusiasts have clamored for the ship’s preservation as an important part of cultural heritage, however, the Navy said that the ship is beyond repair, with a badly rusted and leaking hull.
A navy spokesperson said that the ship is in danger of sinking, and causing an obstruction for shipping in Kaohsiung harbor, where it is now docked at Qijin Island. After a public bidding process, the ship was sold to a scrap metal dealer for NT$14 million, according to United Daily News.
Cover picture: ROC Navy.
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