Navy showcases new home-grown supply vessel

01/23/2015 05:04 PM
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Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) The Navy showcased the medical functions of its newly acquired supply vessel Friday shortly after it formally took delivery of the vessel, which is expected to enhance Taiwan's combat capabilities at sea and ability to provide humanitarian assistance.

Called the Panshih (磐石), the vessel was formally turned over to the Navy by local shipbuilder CSBC Corp. during a delivery ceremony in a harbor in Kaohsiung Friday.

The Navy opened the new vessel to the media shortly after the ceremony to give people a closer look at its medical facilities.

There is a small hospital on the ship that includes an operating room, a dental room, three regular wards and an isolation ward. It is stocked with advanced equipment, such as endoscopy devices and mobile X-ray machines.

The hospital will provide medical services for Taiwan's military personnel and can also offer treatment for disaster victims when it is deployed on international humanitarian aid missions, the Navy said.

[Medical facilities onboard the vessel. CNA photo Jan. 23, 2015]

In order to provide a better quality of life for servicemen and women, and officers on board, there is a gym for them to work out and a social room where they can watch TV when they are off-duty.

Having received the Panshih, the Navy said it will now begin training personnel to familiarize them with the craft before formally putting the ship into service.

The new vessel will be used to transport fuel, ammunition and other supplies to support warships in wartime.

In peacetime, it will be mainly used to carry supplies, conduct maritime rescue missions, and provide humanitarian assistance, the Navy said.

Currently, the Navy only has one supply vessel in service, the Wuyi (武夷).

[A flight deck on the vessel. CNA photo Jan. 23, 2015]

Capt. Cheng Nai-pin (鄭乃斌), who will be the first captain of the Panshih, praised the vessel's mobility, stability and ability to travel long distances and carry large amounts of supplies.

"We also have advanced medical equipment to provide better medical services than the Wuyi," he told the media on the sidelines of the ceremony. "The Panshih is also more stable than the Wuyi."

Despite its supply and support functions, the ship is also well armed to maintain a certain level of defense capabilities, a Navy official said.

The weapons on the Panshih include the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System, the 20mm Gatling Gun and the short-range Sea Chaparral missile, the official said.

[The vessel's weapon system. CNA photo Jan. 23, 2015]

Commissioned by the Navy, CSBC began construction of the Panshih in 2011, and the vessel was christened in November 2013. It cost NT$4.09 billion (US$130 million) to build, according to the Navy.

It was named after Panshih Mountain in Hualien County. The words suggest a sturdy and unwavering foundation.

The new vessel measures 196 meters in length and 25.2 meters in width, can take a crew of up to 165 people, and has a range of 8,000 nautical miles.

It can reach a maximum speed of 22 knots and has a load displacement of about 20,000 tons and a light displacement of about 10,000 tons.

(By Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/ls

Related:●Jan. 23: Navy takes delivery of new home-grown supply vessel

[CNA photo Jan. 23, 2015]

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