Wed, Jul 08, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Navy confirms frigate suffered engine failure

‘PIECE OF IRON’ ‘Huai Yang’ sailors cut the engines after discovering there was insufficient coolant, but weren’t able to restart them because the batteries were dead

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Navy yesterday confirmed press reports that a Knox-class frigate suffered engine failure off the coast of Keelung on June 19.

Navy Fleet Command Headquarters in Tsoying, Kaohsiung City, issued a press release in response to a story in yesterday’s Chinese-language Apple Daily that said the Huai Yang had suffered engine failure.

The press release corrected the report, saying the number of the ship involved was PFG-936, not PFG-937 as stated in the report.

“Seamen followed standard procedure to fix the problem. We have asked all Knox-class frigates to carry out strict maintenance checks to avoid a repeat of the problem,” the press release read.

The press release said that the sailors on the Huai Yang had discovered that there was insufficient engine coolant during a cruise assignment on June 19. Sailors turned off the engines to add coolant, but were unable to re-initiate the engines because the batteries were low.

Naval headquarters decided to dispatch a tug because the Huai Yang was very close to Keelung Harbor. Because a typhoon was approaching, another Knox-frigate was also sent to provide escort.

The Huai Yang was escorted back to Keelung at about 10am on June 20. Repair work was completed on June 27 and the frigate then rejoined the fleet’s regular assignments.

The Apple Daily reported that “PFG-937’s” engine failed, leaving the frigate adrift for 15 hours before it was towed back to Keelung.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said the incident was incredible.

“A battleship is just a big piece of iron floating in the ocean if its engine fails,” Chai said. “I cannot believe or understand why such a thing would happen. This is absurd.”

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