ROKS Choe Yeong (DDH-981)

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Choi Young (DDH-981) cropped.jpg
ROKS Choe Yeong (DDH-981)
South Korea
Name: ROKS Choe Yeong
Namesake: Choe Yeong
Builder: Hyundai Heavy Industries
Launched: 20 October 2006
Commissioned: 4 September 2008
Motto: Do Your Best, Be The First
Status: Ship in active service
Badge: DDH-981-badge.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer
  • 4,400 t (4,300 long tons) standard
  • 5,520 t (5,430 long tons) full load
Length: 150 m (492 ft 2 in)
Beam: 17.4 m (57 ft 1 in)
Draft: 9.5 m (31 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: Combined diesel or gas
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 10,200 km (5,500 nmi)
Complement: 200
Choe Yeong departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during Rim of the Pacific 2012

ROKS Choe Yeong (DDH-981) (Korean: 최영, Hanja: 崔瑩) is a Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer in the South Korean navy. The ship is named after the 14th century Korean general Choe Yeong. She is a Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer and entered service in 2006.

In January 2011 she saw action when she pursued a chemical tanker captured by Somali pirates. The tanker was retaken with eight pirates killed and five captured. Later in 2011 she evacuated South Korean nationals stranded in Libya.


Choe Yeong was part of the second batch of Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyers that were delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy.[1] She was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and was launched on 20 October 2006, entering service on 4 September 2008.[1] She is about 150 metres (490 ft) long, 17 metres (56 ft) wide and displaces between 4,800 and 5,000 tons.[2] Her propulsion unit is a CODOG unit, capable of propelling her at speeds of up to 30 knots (35 mph).[2] She has a crew complement of 200.[2] Her armament consists of a 32-cell VLS (with space to install a 64-cell system),[3] a Mk 45 gun, a RAM launcher, a Goalkeeper CIWS and eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles.[2] Other systems include an AN/SPS-49 radar, an MW08 radar, and a DSQ-23 sonar.[2]


Choe Yeong was assigned to patrol the Northern Limit Line in November 2009 after a boundary dispute clash with North Korea, the first of its kind in seven years.[4] In August 2010, the ship participated in a series of naval drills in the Yellow Sea, four months after the sinking of ROKS Cheonan.[5]

2011 rescue operation[edit]

On 15 January 2011, the Norwegian-owned chemical tanker Samho Jewelry was captured by Somali pirates while en route from the United Arab Emirates to Sri Lanka.[6] The South Korean operator of the vessel, the Samho Shipping Company, was facing huge losses because it was obligated to continue paying Norwegian investors under its charter even while the vessel was held by pirates. However, the Norwegian government had no military presence in the area at the time.[7] Eight South Koreans were among the 21 crewmembers being held hostage.[8]

The South Korean government dispatched Choe Yeong, under Captain Cho Young-joo, commander of the Cheonghae Anti-piracy Unit.[9] Choe Yeong pursued Samho Jewelry for nearly a week until the pirates aboard the tanker were fatigued.[10] Several fake attacks were staged to exhaust the pirate crew.[11] When some of the pirates left the ship to attempt another hijacking on a nearby Mongolian vessel, commandos from the Republic of Korea Naval Special Warfare Brigade boarded Samho Jewelry while a Westland Lynx helicopter provided covering fire.[10] Communications jamming was utilized to prevent the pirates from calling for assistance.[11] The tanker was retaken with eight pirates killed and five captured. The captain of Samho Jewelry survived a gunshot wound to the stomach while three navy personnel suffered "light scratches".[10] The rest of the tanker crew were unharmed.[12]

Choe Yeong escorted Samho Jewelry to Oman, where they docked at the port of Muscat on 31 January.[9] The rescue was called "a perfect military operation" by Lieutenant General Lee Sung-ho of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Republic of Korea.[10]

2011 Libya evacuation[edit]

ROKS Choe Yeong was diverted from anti-piracy operations in the waters off of Somalia to evacuate South Korean nationals stranded in Libya. Choe Yeong successfully evacuated 32 South Korean nationals on 4 March and docked in the Maltese port of Valletta. Choe Yeong remained on standby near Libyan waters to support "further evacuation efforts."[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "KDX-II Destroyer (ship list)". Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "KDX-II Destroyer (specifications)". Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  3. ^ "KDX-II Chungmugong Yi Sunshin Destroyer". Global Security. Retrieved 26 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "S. Korea beefs up defenses after sea clash with N. Korea". Ria Novosti. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Lee, Jin-Man (5 August 2010). "S. Korea launches drills despite N. Korean threats". MSNBC. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Kirk, Donald (21 January 2011). "South Korea delivers setback to Somali pirates, and a warning to North Korea". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 22 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Berglund, Nina (24 January 2011). "Pirate battle frees Norwegian ship". Views and News from Norway. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "A heroic rescue for the ages". JoongAng Ilbo. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Remaining 7 S. Korean crew members of freed cargo ship to arrive home Wednesday". Yonhap. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d "South Korea rescues Samho Jewelry crew from pirates". BBC News. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Jung, Ha-Won (24 January 2011). "High-tech gear helped S. Korea raid on pirates". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "Korean crew of Samho Jewelry expected to return home late next week". The Korea Herald. Yonhap. 22 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011. 
  13. ^ "(2nd LD) Warship with 32 S. Korean evacuees from Libya arrives in Malta". Yonhap. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

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