Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Navy chief accepts blame for blunders

LIVE TESTS Admiral Miao Yung-ching said he is willing to step down because his subordinates should be held accountable for the recent spate of problems

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Navy commander-in-chief Admiral Miao Yung-ching (苗永慶) yesterday said he has asked to be held accountable for the two recent unsuccessful live torpedo tests.

"I made the request because I do not think any of my subordinates should be held responsible for the unsuccessful torpedo tests. If I have to step down because of it, I will do it," Miao told reporters yesterday during a recess in a meeting of the legislature's National Defense Committee.

Miao submitted a request that he be disciplined to Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) last week.

Tang did not accept the request, but encouraged Miao to "review the problem and seek improvement," defense officials said.

At yesterday's meeting of the National Defense Committee Miao told lawmakers that he accepts responsibility for the unsuccessful torpedo tests and that he had asked to be disciplined for it.

Miao decided to take the blame last week after the navy suffered another setback testing a live torpedo following the Sept. 4 Hankuang No. 19 exercise, in which the navy's first live torpedo launched from a submarine went out of control.

The second incident occurred on Oct. 14, when the navy tested a torpedo in the sea off Pingtung County. This torpedo failed to hit the target ship. Later the same day the navy managed to successfully launch another torpedo from the same submarine.

In response to reporters' questions, Miao said that he was the one who should take the blame, because he does not think his subordinates who were involved in the tests made any mistakes.

A naval officer who is an aide to Miao said the navy's investigations show the failure of the torpedo tests can not be attributed to problems related to training or maintenance. The officer suggested that the problem lay with the torpedoes themselves.

These torpedoes were of the same kind, a heavyweight wire-guided type bought from Germany two decades ago. They were apparently imported via Indonesia, although the navy was unwilling to acknowledge this.

The navy announced the results of its investigations into the two unsuccessful torpedo tests at yesterday's committee meeting.

Investigators did not find any human error on the part of the submarine crew responsible for launching the torpedoes. They indicated that, in the Hankuang No. 19 exercise, something went wrong with the wire that connected the torpedo to the submarine from which it was launched.

In the Oct. 14 test, the torpedo deviated abnormally from its course after it was launched, but the navy is still to discover why.

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