Breaking:North Suspected in S. Korean Ship Sinking
Check out Breaking Updates at the bottom of the page.
Decided to transplant some of this from the Breaking News page:
What we know so far:
- The BBC–South Korean navy ship sinks near sea border with North “A South Korean navy ship with about 100 personnel on board has sunk off the west coast near North Korea.
The exact cause of the sinking was unclear, but an explosion was reported in the rear of the ship.
There was speculation it could have been from a torpedo from the North. The involvement of North Korea has not been confirmed by officials. Fifty eight of the sailors were rescued from near Baengnyeong island by several navy and coastguard vessels. It was unclear what had happened to the remaining 46 personnel.”
- War News Update-“I have some good contacts in South Korea. They have just told me the following.
The South Korean President has convened an emergency meeting of his security council.
All South Korean and US forces have been put on the highest of alert. There is genuine fear in Seoul. It is now 1:30 AM Saturday morning in Korea. The next 5-6 hours will tell us where this is all going.
- BBR (Brave Band of Readers)- Matt says “The web says the Cheonan was a Pohang class frigate – small and dated maybe, but equipped with sonar and Mk 46 torpedoes. Designed to tackle subs, in at least some capacity.If it turns out that an antiquated sub from the North sank the Cheonan, maybe it reinforces the maxim that at sea, there are subs, and then there are targets.” D.E. says “(The SK corvette)… carried no missiles and instead was armed with guns, torpedoes, and depth charges. And the depth charges were carried at the stern in two racks of six d.c.s, each. If there were an accidental explosion with a d.c., then a stern explosion would be rather massive and likely would sink the ship. But then, a wake-following torpedo would create the same outcome.” Hudson says “This from MSNBC: “South Korea scrambled naval vessels to the border after an explosion ripped a hole in the bottom of the ship, officials and news reports said.” This would suggest a mine. Article plays down suspicion of Nork foul play. My guess is foul play – long history of this.”
- Length-88 meters
- Width-10 meters
- Draft-2.9 meters
- Weight-1300 tons full
- Speed-32 knots
- Range-4000 miles at 15 knots (?)
- Armament-ASW version: Torpedoes, depth charges, hull mounted sonar 2-Exocet ASM
AAW version: 2-40mm cannons
All-1 or 2-76mm OTO Melara cannon
Update-From Robert Farley at the Guardian: “If the sinking of Cheonan was intentional, it creates a serious crisis for the Koreas’ neighbors and for the United States. None of the US, Japan, or China desire the threat of major military action on the Korean Peninsula. The US, still embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan, doesn’t want another military confrontation on its plate. At the same time, it will be difficult for the US to restrain South Korea from some form of retaliation. Japan’s patience with North Korea has similarly run thin, and it is unlikely that Tokyo could be relied on too heavily as a voice of caution. Beijing has only limited affection for its North Korean client, but certainly does not want war, or even the threat of war…”
Craig Hooper asks is this “A “Remember the Maine” moment?”
Paul Maidment at Forbes blogs “Deadly maritime exchanges between North and South Korea have occurred on several occasions over the years. They are part of the tension of a game in which North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il repeatedly plays a high-risk hand. He looks now to be holding fewer cards than ever. At some point he will overplay his hand.”
More-What we Know as of 6:00 PM Eastern
Defense News provides some details of developments:
There is no clear indication the North was involved.
40 sailors are still missing out of a crew of 104.
The Navy will “dive after daybreak to investigate the cause of the sinking and possibly retrieve bodies.”
6 Navy ships, 2 Coast Guard vessels and 4 other craft were involved in the rescue operation.
The JCS said there were no abnormal military movements on the North Korean side of the disputed maritime border.
Update-As of 6:42 AM
North Korea “not involved” in sinking warship
This according to Radio Netherlands-“South Korea says the North is unlikely to have been involved in the sinking of one of its navy vessels near their disputed border.
South Korea’s defence ministry says no North Korean ship was in the area at the time of the accident. It added that the exact cause of the accident is not yet clear.
The warship sank on Friday evening after an explosion destroyed most of of its rear.
The defence ministry says 58 of the ship’s 104 crew have been rescued while 46 are still missing.”
Here is an AP News Alert-“Hopes faded Saturday for the rescue of 46 marines missing after an explosion sank a South Korean military ship…”
The BBC has a photo gallery.