The former U.S. Navy Anchorage (LSD-36)-class dock landing ship Pensacola (LSD-38) was transferred to Taiwan as the Shui Hai after decommissioning on 22 September 1999. The 1999 offer of a second ship of the class, the ex-Fort Fisher (LSD-40), was not accepted, but the Republic of China Navy (ROCN) still hopes to acquire a second unit to replace its remaining World War II-built LSD. The 29 year-old, 13,680-ton Shui Hai is seen here at Norfolk, Virginia, prior to departing for Taiwan, where the ship arrived on 2 June. Unlike the ROCN's earlier LSDs, which have been employed primarily as transports to support troops on offshore islands, the Shui Hai, along with Taiwan's two former U.S. Navy Newport (LST 1179)-class tank landing ships, has been assigned as part of the "Fast-Response Amphibious Group" created on 1 May of this year. Taiwan maintains a greater seagoing amphibious lift capacity than its main land rival, but most of the ROCN's amphibs were completed more than half a century ago.
By A.D. Baker III, Editor, Combat Fleets of the World