Navy's 2 new minehunters arrive at Kaohsiung
By Joseph Yeh,The China PostTwo refurbished Osprey-class mine clearance ships that Taiwan previously acquired from the United States were delivered to the nation and arrived at a southern harbor yesterday, the Navy announced yesterday.
August 3, 2012, 12:31 am TWN
The two minehunters, the USS Oriole and USS Falcon, decommissioned by the U.S. Navy in 2007, have arrived at Kaohsiung Harbor via sea yesterday, the Navy said in a released statement.
Also returning with the two vessels were several Navy personnel who were sent to the U.S. three years ago to conduct related training to familiarize themselves with the refurbishment process as well as the ships' designs.
The Navy will hold a ceremony at a nearby Zuoying Military Harbor in Kaohsiung next Friday to welcome the coming aboard of the new minehunters, the statement said. The ceremony will be presided by Chief of Navy Admiral Tung Hsiang-lung (董翔龍), it added.
The Osprey-class ships will join the Navy's existing mine-hunting vessel fleet, which currently relies on eight minesweepers; all were built decades ago.
The Osprey-class ships are designed to find, classify and destroy moored and bottom naval mines from vital waterways, according to the Navy.
The two ships originally commissioned at 1995 and 1997 have been proven capable in major drills during their previous services in U.S. Navy, it said.
The two ships are expected to significantly boost the nation's mine-hunting capabilities.
Surrounded by seas and situated in a transportation, military and economic hub in the West Pacific area, Taiwan has been seeking the Osprey-class ships since 2001.
The two vessels are part of a US$6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan that U.S. President Barack Obama approved in 2010.