Taiwan launches new amphibious vessel with anti-ship missiles

MELBOURNE, Australia — Taiwan has launched the first of a new class of multimission amphibious ships that can carry troops and equipment to its offshore and South China Sea islands. The vessels can also conduct surface warfare missions with anti-ship missiles.

The landing platform dock, named Yu Shan after Taiwan’s tallest mountain, was launched at the shipyard of the state-owned shipbuilder CSBC Corporation in the southern Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung on Tuesday. The launch ceremony was attended by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, among other senior civilian and military officials.

Speaking at the ceremony, Tsai called the launch of the Yu Shan a “milestone” for the self-governing East Asian island’s plans to bolster its shipbuilding capabilities, adding that the ship “will strengthen the Navy’s ability to fulfil its mission and further solidify our defenses.”

Previously released specifications for the LPD indicate that the ship displaces 10,600 tons when fully loaded and measures 152 meters, or about 500 feet, with a hull draught of 20 feet. Top speed of the LPD is said to be 21 knots with a range of 7,000 miles.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said the Yu Shan can accommodate up to 673 troops and its vehicle deck can carry AAV7 tracked amphibious vehicles, among other land platforms. The ship also has a twin hangar sized for Sikorsky Seahawk and Black Hawk helicopters as well as a single flight deck spot to conduct helicopter operations. A well dock is incorporated in the design to stow, launch and recover landing craft.

Unusually for an LPD, the Yu Shan is fitted with a pair of missile launchers believed to be capable of holding eight indigenous Hsiung Feng II anti-ship or 16 Hai Chien naval surface-to-air missiles, giving the ship a combat capability.

The ship is also equipped with a single 76mm multipurpose gun and a pair of Phalanx close-in weapon systems; the latter is for defense against missile threats.

The Yu Shan is scheduled to enter service with Taiwan’s Navy in 2022 following final construction and sea trials with the builder. Taiwan has a requirement for four LPDs to replace the Navy’s current amphibious fleet, which is made up of two Newport-class landing ship tanks and a single Anchorage-class landing ship dock, all of which are former U.S. Navy hulls.

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Couple buy 72ft WWII ship off eBay in ultimate restoration project

It’s turned into a lockdown project for the entire family

Couple buy 72ft WWII ship off eBay
Couple buy 72ft WWII ship off eBay
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COUPLE BUY 72FT WWII SHIP OFF EBAY

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A couple who stumbled across an old WWII ship on eBay say the purchase was ‘a heart over head decision’ which led to them taking on the ultimate restoration project.

Gemma and Simon Robins, who are camper van renovation specialists by trade, purchased the ‘ML 1392 Medusa’ in January after they ‘fell in love’ with the vessel.

Buying the 72ft war ship was never part of the couple’s original life plan, however, Gemma, from Huyton, said after viewing it for the first time it pulled on her heartstrings because it had so much history.

Speaking to the ECHO, Gemma described the couple’s maiden voyage into the unknown saying: “We didn’t plan on buying a ship but Simon would always sit there at night and look at eBay.

“One night I was brushing my teeth and he was lying in bed and he was like ‘look at this boat’. I had a look at it and I thought ‘what are you thinking about?’

“Usually I would just brush him off with his crazy ideas but I was looking at it and realised what a historical boat she was.

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“I never ever wanted a boat that big in my life but it sort of pulled on my heartstrings.

“The people who owned the boat before the person we bought it off, they were going to scrap her and take the engines out and sell them.

“So the fella who we bought it off was like ‘you can’t do that, she is a piece of history ’.

The ship, now called Sarinda, has a compelling past having been a navigation leader during the D-day landings in June 1944.

She also aided in the capture of a German submarine in March 1945. Since then, the ship has had many homes and has unfortunately fallen into disrepair.

Couple buy WW2 boat off eBay with dream of restoring her back to usable condition
Couple buy WW2 boat off eBay with dream of restoring her back to usable condition

Gemma added: “She was a WWII boat on D-day and to see her neglected and left to rot, it was a heart over the head decision because we haven’t really got the budget to do it, so we went to look at it the next day and we fell in love with it.”

The ship was set for the scrapyard and Gemma revealed it was her mum who encouraged the couple to buy it, adding: “It was my mum, she was like, ‘oh Gemma, just buy, just buy it’ so she encouraged us to get it.”

“It’s hard to say how much it will cost to renovate and repair. She’s a massive boat, she’s 72ft long, she’s got five bedrooms, and she needs totally gutting and starting again.

“The superstructure is all rotten and falling apart and the only really good part of the boat is the engines, which still run and the actual hull, which is originally from WWII.

“When we bought her I said to Simon we could probably scrape enough money to buy her, but we haven’t got any money to fix her. So we knew it was going to be a long-term project.”

In order to track and document their progress, the couple decided to create a YouTube channel dedicated to the restoration of the ship.

Originally meant as a means to update family and friends due to Covid restrictions, the channel has caught the interest and imagination of big boat lovers.

In the space of three months, the channel, aptly named Ship Happens, has notched up 22,000 subscribers.

72ft war ship ‘ML 1392 Medusa, now called Sarinda
72ft war ship ‘ML 1392 Medusa, now called Sarinda

Gemma, who confessed she had no idea about YouTube or video editing prior, couldn’t quite believe the attention her new channel had received.

She said: “The whole YouTube idea, we only filmed it for the family. Because of Covid, no one could come and see it, so we said we’d film it so all the family could see it online and the channel just took off.

“We didn’t expect it at all, because we’re not YouTubers or anything like that, we’re just normal people.

“The channel just skyrocketed so we had to get a bit more professional because we’re not photographers and it’s taken me ages to edit videos because it’s all new to me.

“The support we’re getting on YouTube now is just phenomenal and because of the ship’s historical background, there are a lot of people who want to see her restored and back to a nice condition. It’s blown us away to be honest.

The ship aided in the capture of a German submarine in March 1945
The ship aided in the capture of a German submarine in March 1945

“People are sending us parts to help us with the project which is just great.”

The hard work begins now for Gemma and Simon who have laid the groundwork for future works on the ship to begin. The possibilities and potential of the former WWII ship are endless.

Gemma, a mum of two, added: “We didn’t really think of a plan when we bought her but there are endless possibilities whether it’s our private holiday home or whether we can rent it out.

“It’s hard work but it will be worth it in the end. Simon said he wants to keep it for life and retire on it

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The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), front, approaches the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200) for a replenishment-at-sea April 7, 2021

 

USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200)

SOUTH CHINA SEA (April 7, 2021) . Bunker Hill, part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet routinely operates and interacts with 35 maritime nations while conducting missions to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific Region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brandie Nuzzi)

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