TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As more details emerge of the collision between a Taiwanese freighter and a mysterious Chinese warship near Kinmen, it appears that secret, high-technology radar equipment had fallen off the Chinese vessel and onto the Taiwanese ship, and it provides clues on what kind of ship it really ways.
At 8 p.m. on July 31, the Yutai No. 1 was slammed into by an unidentified Chinese warship 19.5 miles southeast of Liaoluo Port in Kinmen. The Taiwanese ship sustained damage, but none of its crew were injured, according to the report.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the 72-year-old captain of the Taiwanese ship, Fu Shih-hour, said that the commander of the Chinese warship tried to coerce him into navigating his ship into China’s port of Xiamen. Fu said he refused the Chinese captain’s demands and instead called the Taiwan Coast Guard for help.
Closer view of damage to ship. (Coast Guard photo)
After receiving the distress signal from Fu, the Kinmen branch of the Coast Guard dispatched PP-10053 to the scene, and PP-10039 was sent to support it. By 10 p.m., PP-10053 established contact with Yutai No. 1 and confirmed that the hull was damaged, but there were no safety concerns and the crew was unharmed.
The Coast Guard said that after an extensive search, PP-10053 established contact with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessel. The PLAN ship’s captain said that his vessel had been damaged in the collision as well and needed to return to Xiamen Port for repairs.
The PLAN ship refused to stop and submit to inspection by the Taiwanese and ceased communications with the Taiwanese patrol boat. When the ship’s crew noticed that some electronic equipment had fallen on the the front deck, they informed the military to send personnel to inspect it.
Type 056 corvette. (Wikimedia Commons photo)
When specialists inspected the equipment, they were shocked and immediately packaged it up and told everyone at the scene to not leak any information about what they had seen.
Taiwanese inspectors examined the Yutai No.1, they found “unknown large instruments” on the front deck. According to sources who spoke with China Times, the equipment is either light detection and ranging radar (Lidar) or gun fire-control radar.
A source familiar with the situation told China Times that the Chinese warship involved in the accident was one of two PLAN ships that were prowling in the Taiwan Strait near the island of Kinmen on Wednesday night. There had been speculation that it was either the Type 071 amphibious transport dock “Longhushan” or the new Type 055 destroyer.
Type 056 corvette. (Weibo photo)
However, experts told China Times that the equipment that fell would be typically found on a Type 056 corvette. At a length of 90 meters, it is close to the 100 meters the captain of the Yutai No. 1 estimated the warship to be.
When the military was asked by the newspaper to comment on what kind of equipment had fallen onto the deck fo the Yutai No.1, it was very reticent to respond and only said that it was “highly sensitive” equipment. Military officials told China Times that the vessel that the Yutai No. 1 had collided with was not the “Longhushan” as previously rumored, but rather a Type 055 destroyer.
It now appears the efforts by the PLAN warship to force Yutain No. 1 to sail into the Port of Xiamen was an attempt to prevent Chinese tech from falling into Taiwanese hands.