A preliminary investigation by the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense found that a series of missteps and conduct violations led to the navy’s fatal launch Friday of an anti-ship missile, according to a report seen by Bloomberg News.
Missteps included the inappropriate use of “war mode” on the vessel’s control panel instead of a training setting, according to the report, which was submitted Monday to a Legislative Yuan committee in Taipei. The patrol boat’s weapons operator was also left unsupervised before firing the missile, which struck a Taiwanese fishing boat and killed one person, the report said.
“The incident was caused by a series of discipline violations and mistakes,” the report said. “It wasn’t just one individual operating mistake.”
The launch came as the Communist Party was celebrating its 95th anniversary on mainland China, which remains military rivals with the self-ruled island. The incident represents an early test for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose refusal to accept Beijing’s bottom line for continued negotiations has seen formal communications channels severed since her inauguration in May.
On Friday, Taiwanese Vice Admiral Mei Chia-shu described the missile launch as an isolated case caused by human error.
The Taiwanese defense ministry’s report said the incident had so far had “no impact” on regional security. The island’s defense forces have observed “no abnormal” military activity in the Taiwan Strait since the missile was fired, the report said.