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Navy to tow fire-damaged ship to southern base for repair

All Headlines 11:29 September 11, 2013

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean Navy said Wednesday it will tow a 14,000-ton amphibious assault ship whose engines were disabled by a fire to a main base in the southeastern region for repair while continuing efforts to restore the vessel.

The generator room on the Dokdo-class amphibious assault ship caught fire while the ship was sailing off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula Tuesday morning, causing a duty officer to suffer a second-degree burn.

Among the two generators on the ship, the burnt one broke down while the other stopped after sea water flowed in during the process of extinguishing the fire.

"Officers worked through the night to restore the engine damaged by fire, but it doesn't operate. So, the Navy decided to take it to Jinhae," a Navy official said, referring to a main naval base located about 410 kilometers south of Seoul.

A 2,600-ton salvage and rescue ship will soon be deployed to near the western port of Gunsan to deliver the carrier to Jinhae, which is expected to take about three days, the official said.

The ship was sailing to support a war memorial event slated for this weekend in the western port of Incheon, but its role will be replaced by an Aegis destroyer, officials said.

Named after the easternmost islets of Dokdo in the East Sea, the lead ship in its class was built by Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. in 2005 and commissioned to the South Korean Navy in 2007.

The largest vessel in the nation is 199 meters long and 31 meters wide with a maximum speed of 23 knots.

The ship can accommodate 300 crew members, armed with a close-in weapons system and rolling airframe missile used against anti-ship cruise missiles.

It can carry seven helicopters, six tanks, seven amphibious battle tanks, 10 trucks, three artillery pieces and two amphibious warships.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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