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Pusan (Busan) Pier 8
3505'N 12906'E

The Port of Pusan (also written Busan) is located on the southeast coast of the Republic of Korea. The port city of Pusan was Korea's second largest city with a population of 6 million. It was also Korea's principal seaport. Camp Hialeah served as home to soldiers, airmen and sailors who were assigned to commands residing in the Pusan area, to include Pier 8, the Pusan Storage Facility (subsequently the Busan Storage Center), the Defense Reutilization Management Office, and a variety of commands working out of Kimhae Air Port, west of Pusan. Most of what supplied US Forces Korea (USFK) soldiers and their families was processed by the Army-run 1317th Medium Port Command (subsequently the 837th Transportation Battalion) at Pier 8.

Pusan Harbor, the Republic of Korea's principal deep water port, was divided by Yong Do (island) into northern and southern harbors. Each of the harbors was further divided into inner and outer harbors. North Harbor accommodated deep-draft ocean-going vessels, while South Harbor was used primarily by coastal vessels.

Pusan had designated anchorages inside and outside the outer breakwater, as well as in the inner harbor. US Navy ships used the anchorages on either side of the outer breakwater, while the inner harbor anchorages were used exclusively by commercial vessels. The designated nuclear power anchorage was moved from inside to outside the outer breakwater in 1993. The outer anchorage did not offer any protection from southerly winds or seas. As a result, liberty boat and ferry runs to and from vessels anchored in the outer anchorage were often cancelled whenever wind speeds approached 30 knots. Each of the anchorages used by US Navy ships offered good holding on a mud bottom.

The North Inner Harbor was composed of several piers, quays, and deep-draft anchorages. Most of the facilities were privately owned and not available for use by US Navy ships. Pier 8 was controlled by the US Military Sealift Command, however, and was frequently used by US Navy vessels. Pier 8 was large enough to handle very large ships, with Forrestal class aircraft carriers being accommodated in the past. The pier had 29.5 to 32.8 feet (9 to 10 meters) depths alongside, but if greater depths were needed, ships could be breasted out as necessary to deeper water. Pilotage was compulsory at Pusan. Harbor tugs were available, with 1 to 2 days notice of tug requirements advisable. Other facilities at the port included heavy lift cranes, dry docks, and other equipment normally associated with a busy, deep-water port.

The astronomical tide range in Pusan Harbor was relatively small, ranging from a spring rise of 4 feet (1.2 meters) and neap rise of 3 feet (0.9 meters). Currents were correspondingly weak, about 0.6 knots. However, higher velocities were observed during maximum ebb and flood flow at 3 locations: (1) at the drawbridge in the narrows between Yong Do and the mainland between the North and South Inner Harbors, and (2) in the channel between the breakwaters separating the North Inner and Outer Harbors.

As of September 1993, an extensive construction project was underway to fill a portion of the outer harbor in order to build a container pier, and fill a relatively shallow portion of the inner harbor to accommodate the development of additional, unspecified port facilities. In addition, plans called for the future development of new port facilities in several sections of the inner harbor, and the eastward extension of the easternmost outer breakwater to the coastline. Local harbor personnel stated that such construction would not likely occur until after the year 2000.

In 1994 the port handled 305 ships with about 10,000 shipping containers carrying 600,000 tons of assorted cargo. Pier 8 was the only place in Korea for clearing outbound and inbound personally owned vehicles, or POVs. About 2,500 vehicles were processed in 1994. The port was part of the Military Traffic Management Command, and was linked to ports around the world through an electronic data interphase system. For example, the cargo manifest and other documents of a ship inbound from Italy could be electronically passed on to the Pusan port.

In August 2006, Camp Hialeah, home to the 837th Transportation Battalion, closed in preperation for its return to the Republic of Korea under the Land Partnership Plan first agreed to in 2002 and ammended in 2004. The bulk of the 837th Transportation Command moved to its new headquarters at Camp Henry (also hub for US Army Garrison Daegu). Soon after, the 837th stood up a detachment to oversee day-to-day operations at Pier 8.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:55:49 ZULU