A group of Russian Navy experts visited the Republic of Korea from May 30 to June 7, 2010, reviewed the ROK sponsored Joint Investigation Group (JIG) report and collected material necessary for analysis and experiments. The following are the conclusions reached based on the analysis of and experiments on the materials given to the team of Russian experts.
1. The explosion of the Cheonan can be categorized as a non-contact explosion below the ship.
2. The ROK sponsored JIG’s conclusion on the sinking of the Cheonan is not correct because of the following reasons:
– The JIG’s official time of the explosion (21h:21m:58s) is inconsistent with the expected time based on existing records and with the last recorded time of the CCTV image (21h:17m:03s) that was cut off when electricity was lost inside the ship on the same day. The time when soldiers inside the Cheonan ship reported, using their cell phones, to communication solders at a nearby coastal military post that some soldiers on board were injured was 21h:12m:03s. This time is not the same as the ROK JIG’s official time
– The following was concluded from our examination: Before the sinking, the bottom of the Cheonan ship touched the shallow ocean floor, and all wing blades of its right screw (propeller) and two wing blades of its left screw (propeller) were damaged, and the damaged propellers were scratched so baddly that they became shiny and wide areas of the screws were scratched by friction. The body and the end parts of the aforementioned propeller wing blades were additionally stretched. One wing blade of the right propeller has a metallic crack at the edge, which is inconsistent with the ROK JIG’s opinion “The distortion of the right screw of the ship is due to a sudden stop of the right screw axle”.
– Remnant fishing nets were found entangled around the right screw axle of the damaged ship. This contradicts the ROK’s claim that there were no fishing zones in the area of the ship’s voyage.
– It may be possible that the presented torpedo part was made in North Korea, but the ink mark is inconsistent with the normal standards of marking (the location and the method of the mark). Visual examination of the torpedo part
indicates that the torpedo had been in the water for more than 6 months.
– The area of the ship’s accident is at risk of ocean mines, which is indirectly proven by the fact that the docking locations and voyage paths are restricted to the west seacoast of the Korean peninsula.
The Russian experts’ conclusions are the following.
1. It is confirmed that the cause of the sinking of the Cheonan is due to an explosion outside the ship and in the water.
2. Before the sinking, the Cheonan ship touched the ocean floor on the right, a fishing net was entangled in the right propeller and the right line of the axle, which damaged the propeller wings.
Due to the entanglement of the fishing net with the right propeller and axle line, the Cheonan ship must have experienced restrictions in its speed and maneuvers.
The Cheonan ship was traveling in a shallow area close to the coast and was entangled with the fishing net, and while it was moving to deeper water, the bottom of the ship might have touched an antenna of an ocean mine, which ignited the explosion of the mine.
Another possibility is that the ship was traveling with its malfunctioning navigation system and with a restricted maneuvering capability, it might have been exploded by a ROK’s torpedo.
3. The torpedo part that ROK presented seems to be an electronic torpedo with a radius (sic. “calibre”) of 533mm. However, we do not conclude that this particular torpedo was launched to and impacted on the Cheonan ship.
See the ROK sponsored Joint Investigation Group (JIG) report (full text with technical details, pictures and charts) and the
The ROK Ministry of Defense also published more information on its account of the Cheonan incident at: http://www.cheonan46.go.kr/
Seoul Denies Report on Russia’s Cheonan Assessment
The South Korean government Tuesday denied a report by a local newspaper which said Russia believes an underwater mine, not a North Korean torpedo, sank the warship Cheonan earlier this year in the West Sea.
The report, issued earlier in the day by the Hankyoreh newspaper, said that a team of Russian naval investigators had concluded that an external explosion consistent with that of a mine was responsible for the sinking on March 26.
A Seoul official said on condition of anonymity that the government has not been informed of any updated information regarding the Russian team’s assessment of the Cheonan incident since July 8.
At the time, the Russian foreign ministry spokesman told his South Korean counterpart that Moscow was reviewing the probe results found by a Seoul-led multinational investigation team.
The official added that to his knowledge, Russia is still reviewing the results and has yet to reach a clear conclusion over the cause of the maritime disaster.
The Hankyoreh report was based on a document titled “A Report on the Russian Experts’ Assessment of the Cause of the Sinking of the Warship Cheonan,” which the newspaper said it obtained from a source.
According to the newspaper, the Russian experts held a different view about the cause of the sinking than that of the multinational investigation team.
In May, experts of the multinational probe team pointed their fingers at a North Korean torpedo as the cause of the maritime tragedy by suggesting that a serial number engraved on a metal fragment of the torpedo provided the proverbial smoking gun. North Korea denied the findings, claiming them to be fabrications.
According to the Hankyoreh, the Russian experts, who visited Seoul for a week in early June to assess of the multinational team’s investigation results, raised several questions regarding the findings.
The Russian Embassy in Seoul said that it was not in a position to verify the report, adding it has not been informed of the Russian team’s assessment report.
Meanwhile, Russia’s state-run media RIA Novosti reported last Saturday that the Russian experts were still unable to give any decisive answers over the cause of the sinking of the warship.
Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky was quoted as saying in a radio interview that “We still have questions about the results of the probe.” Whether the answers will come or not “doesn’t depend on us,” he said.
Earlier, the U.N. Security Council wrapped up the Cheonan case by releasing a presidential statement condemning the attack. But the statement didn’t specify that North Korea was responsible for the maritime tragedy that killed 46 South Korean sailors.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to give specific comments on the Hankyoreh report, reminding reporters of the fact that Russia signed the UNSC statement.
North Korea’s “Cheonan incident announcement”
State-run KCNA news agency said that the report compiled in Pyongyang proved that “the US imperialists” and the “group of traitors” headed by Lee Myung Bak, the South Korean president, used the incident to “kick up an unprecedented anti-DPRK confrontation racket.”
Pyongyang’s innocence in the incident is spelled out in 13 points, including claims that the aluminium alloy submitted as evidence were not from a North Korean torpedo, which are made of a steel alloy.
The report also dismissed reports that one of its miniature submarines infiltrated South Korean waters – “There should be a limit to cooking up a lie,” KCNA stated.
The North Korean report states that instead of being struck by a torpedo, the Cheonan ran aground and suggested that Seoul blamed Pyongyang to “escalate confrontation with the DPRK.”
“The US and the Lee Myung Bak group of traitors will never be able to escape the sledge-hammer blow of the times and history for their fabrication of the hideous charade unprecedented in the history of the Korean nation,” the report concluded.
“Cheonan Incident Fabricated by the US and Lee Myung Bak Group of Traitors Was Most Hideous Conspiratorial Farce in the Nation’s History”
Independent Opinion about Accident of PCC-772
“I am S.C. Shin, a civil investigator recommended by Korean National Assembly for the [investigation of the] sinking of Cheonan and I’m writing this letter to let you know the truth exactly here in Korea.
I have graduated Korea Maritime University in 1982, served 2 years in Navy as a sailing & gunnery officer, worked for Hanjin Shipping on a containership regular line between Far East & West coast of U.S as a navigator for several years and experienced shipbuilding inspect affair for 7 years in Major Shipyards in Korea such as Hyundai, Samsung, Daewoo and Hanjin Heavy Industry.
I have built 3 bulk carriers of 136,000 tons and 10 container ships of 2,000~4,000 tons in charge of hull structure, shipping machinery and outfittings, paint and nautical equipments including navigation system.
Unbelievable conclusion and posture of the Administration.
I didn’t agree with the conclusion of the Korean military administration and now sued for libel by them…
Suh Jae-Jung’s Analysis on <Joint Investigation Group Report>
<Joint Investigation Group Report> states that the cause of Cheon-an vessel’s sinking is attributable to near-distance, non-contact water explosion. According to this report, it claims, “Cheon-an vessel was sunk as a result of being severed by shock waves and bubble effect caused by water explosion from North Korean torpedo.[…] However, a series of data in <Joint Investigation Group Report> actually denies the validity of its own conclusion.