Taiwan coastguard gets new locally made catamaran patrol ship

TAIPEH: Officials from Taiwan's coastguard witnessed the launching of the first of 12 locally designed and built 600-ton class catamaran patrol boats and took delivery of three 35-ton cutters on Monday(April 27) in a ceremony held in the southern port of Kaohsiung.

A scaled-down launching ceremony for the Anping 600-ton patrol ship took place at the Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Company (JSSC) docks and was attended by Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai, Ocean Affairs Committee chairman Lee Chung-wei, JSSC chairman Han Pi-hsiang and coastguard officials.

The vice premier said "the government is committed to providing the best patrol ships and the best weapons" to the coastguard, according to a cabinet press release.

The new 600-ton patrol ship was constructed at the JSSC shipyard based on the design for Tuo-chiang missile corvettes, which are now being built for the Taiwan Navy.

The coastguard models have a cruising speed of 35 knots compared to 30 knots for current 600-ton craft. The new vessels are armed with high-pressure water cannon but can be converted to carry anti-ship missiles in wartime.

They are part of a programme to boost the capability of Taiwan's coastguard to defend against incursion from illegal fishing and smuggling from neighbouring states including China and the Philippines.

On March 16, a Taiwanese coastguard cutter was attacked by 10 Chinese speedboats in an apparent fishing dispute off Kinmen Island near the city of Xiamen in China. - dpa
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