A personnel ship belonging to the People’s Liberation Army’s Hong Kong Garrison is aground on an uninhabited islet, days after super typhoon Mangkhut mauled the city.
The Nanjiao-86, a 42-meter transportation vessel, was seen stranded on the shore of the verdant Kau Yi Chau west of Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor on Tuesday.
The ship sustained visible damages to its starboard side with a section of its gunwale completely torn away.
Typhoon Mangkhut lashed Hong Kong and southern China with gales reaching 250 km/h, triggering the Hong Kong Observatory to issue a No. 10 hurricane warning, its highest warning level.
Uniformed personnel, believed to be PLA seamen, were seen on the islet’s rocky shore guarding the wrecked vessel, which has been secured with ropes, according to the Apple Daily.
It is understood that the Nanjiao-86 has been in service with the PLA naval detachment in Hong Kong for years. The vessel’s anchor chain and winch were reportedly damaged by swells during the thick of the typhoon on Sunday, when it was moored at a typhoon shelter at the PLA’s naval base on Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon.
The vessel was then adrift for an unknown period of time amidst torrential rain and squalls before ending up stranded, seven kilometers away on Kau Yi Chau.
A source told the South China Morning Post that there were at least eight soldiers on board at the time, but that no one was injured. It was said that the vessel’s engines were unable to cope with sea conditions, causing it to drift out of control before running aground on Kau Yi Chau.
This is not the first mishap to affect the PLA ship. In July 2001, it collided with a passenger liner, the Orient Princess, which was adrift in Victoria Harbor during the passage of typhoon Yutu. The PLA later sought HK$200,000 (US$25,500) from the liner operator for repairs.
In August 1971, the US Navy’s Regulus, a Denebola-class stores ship that served during World War II, also ran aground on Kau Yi Chau while riding out typhoon Rose, which ripped open its hull. After three weeks of attempts to refloat Regulus, it was finally decided that the damage it had incurred was too severe to warrant salvage.
The ship was cut up and removed in pieces and was subsequently decommissioned and struck from the Navy List in September that year.
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