In a couple of days it is 50 years since the North Koreans captured the spy ship USS Pueblo, causing the last incident that nearly caused a war between USA and North Korea, or even a nuclear war with the Soviet Union:
I remember it well because I was in the middle of it.
I was on my first ship as Chief Officer on a trip from West Malaysia to Hungnam in North Korea with a cargo of natural rubber.
We run a gauntlet of US warships from the 7th fleet as we headed north along the South Korean coast, being hailed every few miles by question of “what ship, were bound” an then “what cargo”, having to reply by aldis lamp. (My finger got tired)
When we reach the 38th parallel we went inside the 12 mile limit of North Korea to escape, but was followed by a South Korean corvette for a while.
We eventually reached Hungnam, which is about 40 n.miles north of Wonsan, where the Pueblo was held.
What I never learnt until today was this:
It may have been better that we were ignorant of that.
We did learn that the North Koreans had mine fields protecting the harbours, which could have been set off to stop us entering.
Luckily the Harbourmaster had convinced the Coastal Defense Commander that it was some innocent Norwegians entering, carrying strategic cargo for North Korea.