Report shows Defense Ministry misled over civilian benefits of Jeju base

Posted on : 2011-10-22 11:12 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
The Jeju Provincial Council says the port design is geared toward military use, but may not be able to accommodate civilian ships

By Heo Ho-joon, Jeju Correspondent

A report shows evidence of spin from the Ministry of National Defense and Navy over the planned Jeju naval base.

Despite the Ministry and Navy’s declaration that the base would be a “joint civilian-military tourism port” able to accommodate two 150,000-ton cruise ships simultaneously, the civilian port facilities were found to apply far less stringent standards than those for the military port.

A copy of the “08-301-2 Facility Construction Execution Design Report” released Friday by Park Won-cheol, a Democratic Party member of the Jeju Self-Governing Provincial Council, states the wind speeds and directions applied to be between 30 knots (15.4m/sec) and 40 knots (20.6 sec) for both northeasterlies and southwesterlies for harbor arrival and departure scenarios in a naval vessel simulation for the military port area. The report in question was submitted to the Navy in January 2010 by Daelim and Seil Engineering at the Navy’s request.

But a 2009 examination of the civilian harbor’s suitability for cruise ship arrival and department based on a research study commissioned from DECO Consultants used only a northeasterly wind direction and set a wind speed of 15 knots (7.717m/sec).

While meteorological observation data for the Seogwipo area from 1987 to 2006 had average monthly maximum ten-minute wind speeds ranging from 24 knots (12.3m/sec) to 50 knots (26.2m/sec), these figures were not applied, nor were the southwesterlies that frequently occur in the region’s waters during the summer.

The Jeju task force that presented these findings on Sept. 30 explained, “While DECO Consultants says the speed of 15 knots was applied because 97% of wind speeds over the past 30 years have been 15 knots or less, maximum wind speeds in the Seogwipo area are 24 knots or more.” The task force called this a “fundamental flaw.”

Also, vessel piloting simulations for nine harbors, including the military harbor, between 1999 and October 2010 all applied wind speeds ranging from 25 knots (12.9m/sec) to 35 knots (18m/sec), with none applying 15 knots.

This has prompted observers to charge that the Jeju naval base project purportedly pushed by the government and military as a joint civilian-military tourism port is poorly designed, with strict standards applied for the military harbor and far less stringent standards applied for the civilian harbor.

Park Won-cheol said, “The military harbor was pursued by the book, and the civilian harbor was spun.”

“It has been shown that the Lee Myung-bak administration’s statements that [the base] would contribute to attracting tourists and stimulating the local economy were fabrications,” Park added.

The province is demanding a thorough examination, arguing that the current design would not allow free traveling by 150,000-ton cruise ships.

A subcommittee of the National Assembly Special Committee on Budget and Accounts examining the naval base project agreed Friday to organize a committee to examine the harbor design and vessel piloting simulations, with participation from the administration, the province, and ruling and opposition party lawmakers.

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