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Friday, October 28, 2016
Unusual ship visit to Wellington
To my surprise, yesterday morning when I looked out the window, there was a navy ship arriving. But what was it? And from where? There is a celebration on the water this weekend, it being the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Royal New Zealand Navy, but this was no New Zealander, and there was no kind of welcome. Just a lot of infuriated siren hooting from the container ship at the end of the wharf, the skipper trying to summon his tardy crew on board, so he could get going.
There were two of these gray strangers, or so I found when I turned the telescope to the wharf. But what? And why?
This morning's newspaper solved the mystery. The one I watched arrive is a guided missile destroyer from South Korea. It's name is ROKS Chungmu-gong Ye Shi-sun. And the one that was already moored is its support ship, ROKS Cheonji.
They came here from Papeete, French Polynesia, where the wharf is nothing like this:
They, and their crews of about 600 in total (including trainees) will be here until Sunday. This means that they will be able to fraternise with Kiwi navymen, as HMNZS Canterbury (another support ship) will be moored at Queen's Wharf, downtown where all the pubs are.
A spokesperson for the Republic of Korea Navy Cruise Training Task Group said during its visit, the group hoped to "promote friendship through various military diplomatic activities such as courtesy visits to distinguished guests, appreciation ceremony for Korean War veterans, on-board receptions, public ship tours and cultural tours."
The commander of the little group is Rear Admiral Sang-Hoon Lee. On October 30 they will head off for Australia.
I wish they had had the nice reception we had earlier this year when our ship arrived at Busan ....