GPS Jamming Affects Ship Navigation off Korean Coast

Safety4Sea
Monday, May 07, 2012

More than 120 ships reported malfunctions in electronic navigation systems to Korean Coastguard recently

122 ships, including Coast Guard vessels and a passenger vessel, have reported malfunctions in their navigation systems since the apparent jamming of satellite signals by North Korea last week, reported 'Safety4Sea'.

According to the Coast Guard in Incheon, west of Seoul, a total of 122 ships were affected by the disruption to Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. Among the vessels were eight patrol boats belonging to the Coast Guard, a passenger liner carrying 387 people and a petrol products carrier.

Fishing boats operating near the tense western maritime border with North Korea also reported errors in their navigation systems, although none of them led to accidents, Coast Guard officials said.

The transport ministry said about 250 commercial flights in and out of international airports at Incheon and Gimpo, also west of Seoul, were also affected by the jamming, although they were not put in danger.

South Korea came under similar electronic attacks in March of last year, and in August and December of 2010, all of which were blamed on the North. South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin has said anti-jamming programs are being developed to counter the attacks.

The defense ministry has also said the North operates a regiment-sized electronic warfare unit near its capital Pyongyang, and some battalion-sized units closer to the inter-Korean border.

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