ROK Navy decommissions its last US ship, Pyeongtaek (ATS-27)

3 January 2017 (Last Updated January 3rd, 2017 18:30)

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) has decommissioned its ship, Pyeongtaek (ATS-27), which was the last US ship transferred to the ROKN.

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) has decommissioned its ship, Pyeongtaek (ATS-27), which was the last US ship transferred to the ROKN.

An Edenton-class salvage and rescue ship, the ex-USS Beaufort (ATS-2) joined the US fleet in 1972 and served in the Indo-Asia-Pacific for 24 years before being decommissioned in 1996.

After being decommissioned on 8 March 1996, Pyeongtaek entered the Department of State's Security Assistance Programme.

"The biggest legacy is not what the ship did in the US Navy but the continued service it provided for the ROK and US alliance."

On 29 August 1996, ROK acquired the hull, and the vessel was re-commissioned ROKS Peyongtaek on 1 April 1997.

US Naval Forces Korea chief of staff commander Henry Kim said: “Beaufort had a great legacy, but the biggest legacy is not what the ship did in the US Navy but the continued service it provided for the ROK and US alliance.

“It is the last former US ship in the ROK fleet, so today's decommissioning is important to our ROK partners and us.”

USS Beaufort has carried out a wide range of operations in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, which includes operating as a support ship for minesweepers in Operation End Sweep in North Vietnam.

Kim added: “This is the last US ship to have served in the ROK Navy. Now each ROK ship is ROK built. That is an obvious source of pride, and as both navies progress and grow stronger, so will our alliance.”

Pyeongtaek, over the period of its 20 years of ROK naval service, participated in a wide range of operations, which include the Taean oil spill recovery efforts in 2008 and the rescue and salvage efforts after the 2010 attack.