A fast-attack missile boat on Saturday night collided with a fishing boat off the coast of New Taipei City’s Ruifang District (瑞芳) during a routine training mission.
The collision, which involved a Kuang Hua VI-class missile boat, occurred 9 nautical miles (16.7km) north of Bitou Cape (鼻頭角), causing damage to the fishing boat’s bow and hull, and the missile boat’s launching system.
The fishing boat was carrying 16 tourists on an angling tour. No injuries were reported.
The missile boat reportedly took evasive action as it approached the fishing boat from its portside, but failed to prevent the collision.
The fishing boat’s captain, surnamed Lin (林), said visibility was low and he did not see or detect the missile boat even though his boat’s radar systems were operational.
After the collision, the missile boat did not stop to check the fishing boat’s condition and sailed away, Lin said, adding that after checking the safety of his passengers and personnel, as well as the boat’s condition, he tried to pursue the fleeing missile boat and honked his horn to stop it, but it failed to do so.
Lin said he reported the collision to the Coast Guard Administration via radio, adding that the coast guard escorted his boat back to Keelung’s Bisha Port (碧砂港).
The Naval Fleet Command yesterday denied that the missile boat fled the scene of the accident and said that the patrol boat sailed alongside the fishing boat for a while before returning to its base at the Port of Keelung.
The missile boat was likely at fault and it should have kept out of the fishing boat’s way because the fishing boat was on its starboard side, which means the fishing boat had the right of way, according to international navigation rules, former Republic of China Naval Academy instructor Lu Li-shih (呂禮詩) said.
The navy said the coast guard and a third-party authority are investigating the collision to ascertain responsibility, and the navy would respect the investigation’s outcome.
The missile boat was part of a naval formation performing a nighttime “confrontation exercise” to hone its skills in darkness, the navy said, adding that nighttime exercises will be conducted despite the accident.