December 28, 2010 09:03
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs is to expand 10 harbor terminals on nine islands including Yeonpyeong from next year to accommodate 5,000-ton civilian and naval vessels that will facilitate the evacuation of residents and military operations in an emergency.
Any harbor with a 5,000-ton capacity can accommodate a destroyer equipped with formidable firepower. The 10 harbors are on Yeonpyeong, Beaknyeong and Daecheong islands among the five northernmost islands in the West sea; Chuja, Gageo and Daeheuksan islands in the West Sea; Ulleung and Dokdo in the East Sea; and Hwasun and Gangjeong harbors on Jeju Island.
According to a report the ministry presented to President Lee Myung-bak on Monday, the ministry will hand oversight of the harbors from local governments to the central government. It will also expand harbor facilities, which are now suitable for ships smaller than 3,000 ton, to accommodate vessels up to 5,000 ton.
"We'll start expansion in 2012-2013 after making the necessary preparations next year," a ministry spokesman said. "Once expansion is completed, mass evacuations of island residents will be possible if an island suffers an attack like the shelling of Yeonpyeong" in November.
The ministry also claims it will finish the four-rivers mega project by the end of next year and open a Seoul-Incheon canal in October next year allowing ships to travel from Incheon to the Han River.
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