The Port of Kaohsiung is technically suitable to become a US Navy port of call, as it has handled mega cargo container ships with greater hull length and draft than US carriers, a high-ranking harbor official said.
On June 28, the US Senate on Armed Services Committee authorized US Navy vessels to anchor at Taiwanese ports, resulting in discussions by Kaohsiung’s port authorities about how they would prepare to receive US warships.
“The Port of Kaohsiung has not been contacted by the Ministry of National Defense or the American Institute in Taiwan regarding this highly sensitive issue,” a senior harbor official said on condition of anonymity.
However, the port is theoretically capable of handling Nimitz-class supercarriers and other warships, as bigger ships have made stops at the harbor’s Pier 2 before, the official said.
Mega container ships that have anchored in the port include the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the Yang Ming World and Compagnie Generale Maritime’s Benjamin Franklin, the official added.
The Triple E-class Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, one of the largest ships in the world, is 400m long and has 16m of draft.
In comparison, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered carrier is 335m long and has less than 15m of draft, the official said.
“The crucial factors are maneuvering and piloting,” the official said, adding that the harbor should be capable of handling US carriers after arrangements are made for towing and guiding them.
The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet between the 1950s and 1970s used Keelung as a port of call, which was visited by US carriers Wasp and Enterprise, as well as the nuclear-powered attack submarine Swordfish.
Former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) visited all three of the vessels, the official said.
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