INCHEON, July 8 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s Coast Guard is struggling to find the financial resources necessary for the operation of large patrol ships and helicopters as oil prices continue to remain high in and outside the country.
At present, the Coast Guard runs a total of 355 ships, including large patrol ships and coastal rescue boats. In addition, it also operates 24 aircraft, including 18 helicopters and six fixed-wing planes.
These vehicles are essential to crack down on illegal Chinese fishing boats and to respond to marine accidents.
The Coast Guard’s 2022 diesel budget for patrol ships is estimated at 93.5 billion won (US$72 million). Over the past six months, it already spent 62 billion won.
If high oil prices continue, the budget will be exhausted by September.
This year’s budget for jet fuel is 2.1 billion won, of which 1.3 billion won was already spent by June.
The average per-liter price of jet fuel stood at 744 won in the first half of last year, but shot up to 1,186 won in the first half of this year.
“We’re trying to minimize the operation of helicopters except in cases such as the transport of emergency patients or naval security activities,” said an official at the Coast Guard.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)