SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Korea Bizwire) - The Navy decommissioned one of the country’s first-generation indigenous warships, the ROKS Seoul (FF-952), Thursday after 34 years of service.
The 1,500-ton warship is the second locally-built Ulsan-class guided missile frigate, which the Navy put into operation in 1984.
It was one of nine first-generation frigates that the Navy introduced in its ambitious project in the 1970s to build indigenous warships. The first edition, the Ulsan (FF-951), was set afloat in 1981 and decommissioned last year.
The frigates had been the Navy’s main combat fleet until new lines of destroyers were introduced to the Navy from the late 1990s.
Before its retirement this year, the Seoul was most recently in charge of defending South Korea’s southern sea under the leadership of the Navy’s third fleet command. It has also participated in search and rescue operations after the deadly sinking of the Sewol ferry in April last year.
“It has been my honor to finish my mission as the last captain of the retiring local frigate Seoul which had defended the national waters for the past 30 years,” Lt. Col. Lee Jae-hoon said in the decommissioning ceremony held in the military naval base in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang Province.
After retirement, the vessel will be loaned to regional governments for security education purposes, according to the Navy.
Also decommissioned in the Thursday ceremony were the corvette Gimcheon (PCC-761) and six other locally-manufactured Chamsuri-class patrol vessels.
Since 2013, the Navy has been deploying a new fleet of 2,500-ton Incheon-class frigates in lieu of the retiring Ulsan-class warships and other corvettes, the Navy said. By 2020, around 20 new frigates will be launched under the replacement.