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Typhoon Mangkhut

PLA navy vessel still stranded after running aground in Hong Kong during Typhoon Mangkhut

Law enforcement source tells the Post that the Nan Jiao 86, a navy personnel transport ship, became stranded on the shore at Kau Yi Chau on Sunday

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 7:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 1:56pm

Personnel from the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison were on Wednesday guarding a stranded military vessel three days after it was driven ashore by Typhoon Mangkhut, the city’s most intense storm on record.

The Nan Jiao 86, a PLA navy personnel transport ship, was stuck on the rocky shore of Kau Yi Chau, some 3km to the west of the western tip of Hong Kong Island.

At noon on Wednesday, the Post observed some soldiers were stationed at a beach on the eastern part of the islet.

Visible damage could be seen on the 42-metre vessel, which had its starboard or right side facing the sea. Part of a cabin wall had been ripped open. There were no signs of oil spillage and the extent of damage on the other side of the boat was unknown.

At one point, more than 10 uniformed staff arrived at the scene on a motor boat, carrying some supplies onto the beach. Some of them also went on board to inspect the damage.

The military officers did not respond to questions about a salvage operation, only asking the Post to “keep a safe distance”, although they did not prohibit photo-taking.

It’s official: Typhoon Mangkhut most intense storm on record

A law enforcement source told the Post on Tuesday that the Nan Jiao 86, carrying at least eight crew members, ran aground on Sunday as Mangkhut tore into the city. No one was injured in the incident.

The storm was the most powerful to hit Hong Kong since records began in 1946 and at its height packed sustained winds of up to 118km/h, according to the Observatory. At its closest, Mangkhut was within 100km of the city early on Sunday afternoon.

“After the No 10 typhoon signal was issued on Sunday morning, the ship’s anchor chain broke due to big waves caused by the storm,” the source said. “The waves and strong current forced it to the rocky shore on Kau Yi Chau.”

At about noon on Sunday, the PLA sought help from the Hong Kong Marine Department’s vessel traffic centre. The centre then alerted local police.

“The PLA asked for help to get the stranded vessel back into the water,” the source said. “But because of adverse weather, there was no police deployment.”

A Security Bureau spokesman on Wednesday night said it had received a notice from the garrison about the “landing” of a military vessel at Kau Yi Chau to “take shelter” on Sunday when Mangkhut was lashing the city. The bureau said it had learned the garrison was arranging for its removal.

Another source said the Nan Jiao 86 used to berth at a base on Stonecutters Island, but it was anchored off Kau Yi Chau before the arrival of the monster storm. He believed another boat or a crane would be used to pull the stranded vessel back into the water during high tide.

Kau Yi Chau is an uninhabited, isolated islet located west of Victoria Harbour, between Peng Chau and Green Island in Hong Kong.

The PLA could not be reached for comment.

Additional reporting by Ng Kang-chung