The Master Mariners in Shipbuilding
With a strong technology base, South Korea has always strived to develop and build its own military ships, submarines and fast boats. The development and modernisation of South Korean defence capability got a kick-start during the 1970s with the formulati
OVer THe PaST FOUr decades, South Korea has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a hightech industrialised economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of africa and asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion-dollar club of world economies and is currently the worldÕs 12th largest economy. KoreaÕs export focused economy was hit hard by the 2008 global economic downturn, but quickly rebounded in subsequent years, reaching 6.3 per cent growth in 2010. The US-South Korea Free Trade agreement was ratified by both governments in 2011 and went into effect in March 2012. On the longterm basis, South Korea has been able to transform itself from one of the worldÕs poorest nations into one of the worldÕs richest nations. Its GDP (purchasing power parity) is $1.64 trillion (2012 est.) and is 13th in the world. Its amazing economic growth in a short period has been dubbed Òthe Miracle on the Han riverÓ. Its main industries are electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, steel and shipbuilding.
In 2003, South Korea became the worldÕs leading shipbuilders by going ahead of Japan in shipbuilding volume, order backlogs and new orders, mainly for merchant ships including oil tankers. China has also developed its shipbuilding industry, outpacing Japan and giving tough competition to South Korea. according to one report, it became the leading shipbuilder in 2011 when it accounted for 48.2 per cent of a total of 28.11 million compensated gross tonnes (CGTs) worth of deals globally placed, compared with a 31.2 per cent in 2010. South KoreaÕs shipbuilding sector continues to be the industry leader.
Military Shipbuilding Capability
With a strong technology base, South Korea has always strived to develop and build its own military ships, submarines and fast boats. The development and modernisation of South Korean defence capability got a kick-start during the 1970s with the formulation of the eightyear National Defense Plan, aimed at making the country self-reliant in defence capability by using its domestic technology and industrial resources. The result was the building of Ulsan-class frigates and the Pohang-class corvettes which are considered as the mainstay of rOKNÕs fleet in coastal operations. Since then South Korea has not looked back and has indigenously constructed a majority of its naval vessels. There are many shipbuilding companies involved in the building of naval vessels of various types and sizes including auxiliaries, the salient details of which are as follows:
Indian shipbuilding has a lot to emulate from South Korea for developing their indigenous shipbuilding industry and becoming a world leader in a very short time
South Korean Navy's patrol vessel, PKX I, built by Hanjin Heavy Industries