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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Serial Number on torpedo propeller matches those used for the North Korean torpedoes - South Korea's Chosun Ilbo reports

Today's front page headline of the Chosun Ilbo (a conservative South Korean daily morning paper) read: Torpedo Serial Number Font Confirmed to be North Korean (어뢰 일련번호, 북한 글자체로 확인).

The report stated, according to a high ranking South Korean official, the joint civilian-military investigation team looking into the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan has found "conclusive evidence proving" the North Korean torpedo was what caused the sinking of the Cheonan.

The report stated, the joint investigation team reportedly was able to retrieve a pair of torpedo propellers in relatively good shape last week in the mud near the location where the Cheonan went down. After comparing the serial number imprinted on the retrieved propellers to a known North Korean sample, the investigation team reportedly found the font and the imprinting style used in the serial number of the retrieved propeller to be a match to the North Korean sample.

The South Korean official told the Chosun Ilbo that given the torpedo debris recovered in the area, the presence of traces of RDX explosives on the hull of the Cheonan, and the latest discovery about the serial number, there is now conclusive evidence that the North Korea is behind the sinking of the Cheonan. The South Korean official also said the "foreign experts" agrees with the joint investigation team's analysis.

To read the entire Chosun Ilbo report in Korean, please Korean title provided above. If you would like to read the report in English, please read on for the translated version.

* There were some editorial liberties taken with the translation for style and grammar purposes, but not for content. Please let me know if there are parts of the translation that could be worded differently to better reflect the original Korean text.


Torpedo Serial Number Font Confirmed to be North Korean

"The joint investigation team has found conclusive evidence (smoking gun) proving the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo," a high-ranking official said on 18 May.

The joint investigation team has recently retrieved torpedo propellers (propulsion device) in relatively good shape. After analyzing the imprinted serial number, investigators discovered that the font and imprinting style match with that of a North Korean torpedo. The official said "after analyzing the serial number, foreign experts (of the joint investigation team) also agreed that the torpedo came from North Korea. Together with the finding of torpedo debris and traces of explosives, this is conclusive evidence", he added.

Another government official said "last weekend, a pair (2) of nearly intact torpedo propellers were found embedded in the mud."

"These propellers can be distinguished as such, even by non-experts," he added.

It was reported that the joint investigation team compared the recovered propellers with the North Korean light torpedo propeller that was obtained seven years ago and concluded that both samples share similar quality of material. Of note, a (North Korean) torpedo propulsion device is composed of two propellers rotating in opposite directions.

A computer simulation run by the joint investigation team has temporarily concluded that it is highly possible that a sound-guided torpedo with a 250kg warhead exploded around 3m underneath the gas turbine room of the Cheonan.

Analysis of the traces of explosives retrieved also revealed that they are similar to those recovered from the seven year-old sample.

Military authorities announced they found the diesel engine (of the Cheonan) which apparently fell apart during the explosion and it was transferred to Second Fleet Command in Pyongtaek, (South Korea), for gunpowder analysis. It was also reported that the (Cheonan’s) gas turbine was located and will soon be salvaged for further analysis.

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