The reports of Chung Hai’s demise have been premature
During World War II, the 50-ship-strong LST-491 class of tank landing ships, and the hundreds of follow-on LST-542-class near-sisters, proved both effective and remarkably versatile. Some 3,640-tons, these 328-foot vessels could shelp a full-strength infantry company or between 1600 and 1900 tons of cargo, landing them directly to the beach while launching landing craft from their davits to lead the way.
Over time, they served not only as amphibious warfare ships but also mini “L-Bird” aircraft carriers, repair ships, PT-boat tenders, minesweeper support craft, and ersatz ambulances (through D plus 11 days, LSTs evacuated nearly 80 percent of all Allied casualties from Normandy).
USS LST-755, built by the American Bridge Co., Ambridge, PA, was commissioned in August 1944 and would spend 1945 earning her stripes in the Lingayen Gulf and Mindanao landings in the liberation of the Philippines.
After a stint in occupation duty, LST-755, along with her sisters, passed into mothballs in 1946.
By 1948, LST-755 was stricken and passed over to the Republic of China (Taiwan) as the ROCS Chung Hai (LST-201).
She would be joined by more than 30 sisters and, throughout an amazing second career with the ROCN, steamed 75,126hrs and 556,728nms before she was retired in 2010.
Over the past decade, it was thought she would be retained as a museum ship but the plans repeatedly fell through.
The ship was sold for scrapping, 19 May 2020 after bidding for NT$14 Million according to United Daily News. In poor condition after 76 years afloat, she was reportedly slowly taking in water and sinking.
However, as reported by local media:
The sale drew condemnation from historians and military enthusiasts who saw the ship as an important cultural heritage artifact.
Even the scrap dealer was concerned about the backlash of public opinion if he were to dismantle the ship.
The navy then decided to postpone signing the sales contract with the winning bidder for one month, while relevant government agencies come up with a plan to possibly keep and restore the ship as an historic monument.
The Kinmen County Government issued a press release earlier this evening saying that it is coordinating with the Ministry of Defense to seek an alternative solutions, and to preserve “this important historical asset.”