Classified charts go missing from missile boats

By Joseph Yeh,The China Post

Two classified nautical charts were found to be missing from locally built missile boats that were decommissioned earlier this month, military sources were quoted as saying yesterday. In response to the report, the Navy Command Headquarters said that the naval personnel responsible for the missing charts have received demerits for their negligence and are currently under investigation by military prosecutors. A report yesterday quoted military sources as saying that the two nautical charts that show maritime areas and adjacent coastal regions of Taiwan waters went missing recently. The two charts were supposed to be put on every locally built Hai Ou (Sea Gull)-class missile patrol boat (海鷗級飛彈快艇). The naval personnel were not aware of the missing charts until the decommissioning ceremony of 20 of the aging missile patrol vessels held earlier this month, it said. Naval personnel, sorting through every document and weapon system on the ships during the retirement process, realized that the two charts were no longer onboard. One of the two missing charts was later confirmed to have been accidentally destroyed by fire.

The other has remained missing, navy sources said. The missing charts case is the second such incident in the past three months for the Navy, indicating a possible security loophole that may be undermining the country’s defenses. In mid-May a laptop that reportedly stored confidential military information went missing from another locally built missile boat. The military, however, insisted that the laptop, originally put on a Kuang Hua VI fast attack missile boat (光華六號飛彈快艇), contained no classified military information and that therefore the incident did not constitute a breach of national security.