Chinese submarine 361

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Ming class submarine
An officer and sailor stand next to the conning tower of a Ming class submarine
Career (China) Chinese (PRC) Navy Ensign
Name: No. 361
Fate: Lost 16 April 2003
General characteristics
Class & type: Ming-class submarine
Displacement: 1,584 tonnes (1,559 long tons) surfaced
2,113 tonnes (2,080 long tons) submerged
Length: 76 m (249 ft 4 in)
Beam: 7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)
Draft: 5.1 m (16 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 2 × Shaanxi 6E 390 ZC1 diesels rated at 5,200 hp (3.82 MW)
2 × Xiangtan alternators
2 shafts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h) surfaced
18 knots (33 km/h) submerged
Complement: 55 (9 officers)
Armament: 6 × bow torpedo tubes
2 × stern torpedo tubes

The submarine hull number No. 361 with name Great Wall # 61 (长城61号) is a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy Type-035AIP (ES5E variant) (NATO reporting name Ming III) conventional diesel/electric submarine. It was reported to have suffered an accident killing all on board in 2003 while at the Bo Hai Sea between North Korea and eastern Shandong Province of China.

No. 361 was part of the 12th Brigade of the North Sea (Bo Hei) Fleet of the PLAN based at Lu Shun (formerly Port Arthur) in the Liao Ning Province.

Ming class[edit]

The Ming class of Chinese submarines are an adaptation of the diesel/electric Romeo class submarine built in the Soviet Union, which are based on the German Type XXI submarine of World War II.

The Central Military Commission ordered the building of the Ming class submarines in 1967 as Project 035. The construction of the first began during October, 1969 at Wuhan Shipyard. The last boat was built in 2002. A total of 20 boats were built, of which 17 are left, and most serve in the North Sea Fleet. No. 361 serving the East Sea Fleet was the thirteenth and was built in 1995 making it one of the newest in the fleet.

CNN reports that China is increasing training and exercises of its submarines in the east to carry out a policy of "sea denial" to try counter the powerful U.S. Pacific fleet.[1] The location of the incident (see below), the Bo Hei Sea is very strategic for China. It is the closest sea outlet to Beijing, and one of the busiest sea routes in the world.

Bo Hei Sea


According to the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, the submarine was taking part in exercises east of Neichangshan islands in the Bo Hai Sea (渤海) of Northeastern China.[2] The captain of the boat was (Naval) Senior Colonel (equivalent of a commodore) Cheng Fuming (程福明). Among the 70-member crew, 13 of them were not part of the original crew, but instead, trainees and cadres from the naval academy.

On April 16, 2003, all 70 crew members of the submarine were killed when the diesel engine failed to shut down when the boat submerged and used up all the oxygen in the boat.

According to Xinhua on May 2, 2003, the crippled boat was discovered by Chinese fishermen on April 25, 2003, when they noticed the periscope sticking out. The submarine was then towed initially to Yulin on Hainan Island, and later towed back to the northeast seaport of Dalian. The submarine was drifting for ten days because it was on a silent, no-contact drill.


CMC Vice-chairman Guo Boxiong led an enquiry into the incident, which resulted in the dismissal of four senior PLAN officers, Navy Commander Shi Yunsheng, Political Commissar Yang Huaiqing, North Sea Fleet Commander Ding Yiping (丁一平), and North Sea (Bei Hai) Fleet Political Commissar Chen Xianfeng (陈先锋) on June 13, 2003. Another four senior officers were also demoted. The official verdict was improper "command and control".


  • "The officers and sailors of 361 remembered their sacred duty entrusted to them by the Party and the People. They died on duty, sacrificed themselves for the country, and they are great losses to the People’s Navy." - Chairman Jiang Zemin, Central Military Commission in a condolence message to families of the dead, 2 May 2003.


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