SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — The South Korean Navy decommissioned eight warships Friday after more than three decades of service for maritime defense, its officials said, highlighting a plan to replace them with more advanced vessels.
The armed service held decommissioning ceremonies in naval bases in Jinhae, 312 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and Pyeongtaek, 65 km south of the capital, with the participation of key naval commanders and sailors.
The eight ships were two 1,500-ton frigates, the Jeonnam and the Jeju; two 1,000-ton corvettes, the Sokcho and the Yeongju; and four 150-ton Chamsuri-class patrol boats.
Commissioned in 1989, the two frigates served as core naval assets. The Jeonnam was deployed for major inter-Korean naval skirmishes, including the clash near the border island of Yeonpyeong in 1999.
Jeju participated in the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise in 1996 and other key missions.
The two corvettes were commissioned in 1990. The Yeongju joined the Yeonpyeong battle in 1999 and played a key role in sinking a North Korean torpedo boat, for which it received the “Kill Mark” now inscribed on its bridge wing.
In place of the four vessels, the Navy has deployed 2,500-ton Incheon-class and 2,800-ton Daegu-class frigates. The new frigates are equipped with high-tech guided missiles, advanced sonar systems and other pieces of high-tech combat equipment.
The Chamsuri-class patrol boats had operated since 1989 to carry out front-line naval missions. To cover their missions, the Navy has run 450-ton and 230-ton patrol ships equipped with various weapons systems.