Posts tagged “ship

Renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum And Pueblo

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Downed American aircraft at the new Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

In 2012 Marshall Kim Jong Un declared the need to renovate the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, as well as overhaul and move the American spy ship Pueblo for the 2013 commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Victory Day. Over this last year both sites were closed to tourism, and although I missed the grand opening and festivities for the 60th anniversary of Victory Day, I was able to visit both sites on my October 2013 DPRK trip.

Visitors now start their museum experience with a walk through the Monument to Victorious War statue park. Flanking these statues is a mock trench system leading the way to an outside gallery showcasing old American hardware: all the captured/destroyed tanks and downed airplanes which had been previously housed in the old museum basement.

Fresh from a dry dock overhaul, the Pueblo has been moved from the Taedong River into a dedicated basin adjacent the captured American hardware. The Pueblo visit includes a ship tour and a viewing of the standard propaganda video about the capture.

From the Pueblo visitors are taken to the new war museum; unfortunately no interior photos allowed. On entering visitors pay their respects and bow to a wax statue of Eternal President Kim Il Sung. The statue so remarkably resembles his grandson, Marshal Kim Jong Un, that local guides explain to visitors the distinction. The new museum is world class (although through a North Korean historical viewpoint) with modern galleries, displays, dioramas, and walkthrough environments of urban and countryside battle sites. After touring the new museum and a break at a modern cafe, visitors pass through a walkway gallery leading to the refurbished 360 degree revolving battlefield diorama. The diorama has been outfitted with a new light and video/lazer show overlay, effectively bringing the Battle of Taejon to life. The 360 degree battle diorama ends the visit.

Always an impressive site, the newly renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum is now a true highlight to any visit to Pyongyang!

Pics of the new Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and Pueblo:

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New Cruise Line for DPRK

Exciting news from Young Pioneer Tours:

The DPRK has announced that they will be restarting cruises from Rajin Port, to the Mt Kumgang resort on 3 night, 4 day cruises starting from April. Singaporean cruise ship called the Royale Star has a capacity for around 800 paying passengers, offering monthly trips from April until October.

We have been given the confirmed dates for this cruise, and most excitingly that we will be able to sell foreign places (non-Chinese) on these trips. We are still waiting to have prices confirmed on this, but are hoping to have this done within 48 hours.

Apr 29-May 3, May 30-June 3, June 28-July 2, July 29-Aug 2, Aug 29-Sep 2, Sep 30-Oct 4, Oct 14-18

As a Master Mariner I have vowed never to take a cruise. Seven months a year on the ocean for my professional job is usually enough for me, but for a North Korea Rason cruise I will make an exception!

With this breaking news I’m already in touch with the office and developing a tour for May 30-June 3 (I guess Mongolia will have to wait until next year).

Get in touch with me if interested, plenty of time to customize the trip for a few days exploring the Rason region before sailing the North Korean waters with me, your very own maritime expert.

North Korea watchers will remember that this isn’t the first attempt North Korea made at launching a cruise route.   Below are pictures of the Mangyongbong cruise ship. Back in 2011 YPT was the only Western tour company to take the cruise from Rason to Kumgang.  Unfortunately it stopped operating after Western Journalists gave it too much stick.


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Our lovely guide Shan with North Korean guides in front of the M/V Mangyongbong cruise ship.

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M/V Mangyongbong gangway.

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DPRK flag on the M/V Mangyongbong’s stack.

644185_467094956679422_898768257_nLovely North Korean ship’s staff.

All pics thanks to the Young Pioneer Tours Facebook page.


Taedong River Cruise

During our spring 2012 trip I arranged a private lunch and boat cruise along the banks of the Taedong River from central Pyongyang to its outskirts; our guides and boat crew seemed completely unconcerned about our photography (our guide Ms Han seemed just as fascinated by the cruise as we were). Below are some of the amazing shots of daily life and work on the Taedong River, North Korea:

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Local scene along the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

A worker and his dog on a river dredge.

USS Pueblo and Bucket Dredge

Bucket dredge working in front of the USS Pueblo.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Working on a river dredge.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Working on a river dredge.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Pipeline river dredge.

Taedong River 대동강 Dredge

Working on a river dredge.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Moving cargo off a river boat on the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Ship on the blocks on a Taedong River shipyard.

Military Wash North Korea

Soldiers doing their laundry on the river bank.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

A working rowboat on the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Locals fishing on the Taedong.

Taedong River, DPRK, North Korea

Bridge and trams over the Taedong.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Recreational rowboats on the Taedong.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Recreational rowboats on the Taedong.

Taedong River Pyongyang, North Korea

Recreational rowboats on the Taedong.

North Korean Guide Ms Han

A fascinated Ms Han takes in the river scenery.

North Korean Guide Ms Han

For anyone who wants to arrange a similar trip please make sure you negotiate the cost of the cruise beforehand, I was a bit surprised to be handed a 600 Euro bill 45 min. into the cruise.  I promptly had Ms Han turn the boat around and requested a recalculation for fuel saved for heading back early.  A few phone calls later our bill came out to about $20 per passenger, an entirely better deal and completely worth it for the experience – please note that a lunch on the boat while moored, i.e. no river cruise, is included with the cost of your tour, no extra fee expected.

All photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Back to Work at Sea

I try to post something new and original on a daily basis here at the American in North Korea blog, but my four month vacation is over and I will be intensely busy with my normal job until I get set into my new routine – working as a Chief Mate on an ocean going ship.

North Korean Fisheries

To celebrate getting back to work (it’s my birthday today too – 36 years if you must know) I have posted the above photo, a Korean peninsular map – with Pyongyang indicated by a star, that shows the various ocean species and fisheries found in the Korean region.  I found this map in a small museum at the Wonsan Songdowon Children’s Camp – many more pics from there to come.


Tour of the US Spy Ship Pueblo

Still actively commissioned today, the USNS Pueblo currently remains the only captured ship in the US fleet.  The incident occurred Jan. 23, 1968, but on this day in 2011 our guide was one of the North Korean sailors who boarded and helped capture the Pueblo. Attractive young ladies in military uniforms usually give this tour but our western guide informed us that we were lucky to have this man as our guide – he normally only gives tours to dignitaries and foreign leaders.

Tour of the US Spy Ship Pueblo

I knew about the Pueblo incident before coming to the DPRK. I’m a Chief Mate of a US Navy ship (on long tern charter to UCSD), I know my history, and I did plenty of research pre-trip – so I was pretty amazed to learn that many people in my group were not even aware that North Korea holds a captured US ship.  But these guys were quick learners, and at the end of the trip many remarked that the visit to the Pueblo and interacting with our guide was the highlight of their trip.

Tour of the US spy ship Pueblo

Tour of the US spy ship Pueblo

Young North Korean sailor on duty.

Tour of the US Spy Ship Pueblo

Tour of the US spy ship Pueblo

Tour of the US spy ship Pueblo

Tour of the US spy ship Pueblo

Small arms damage clearly marked out on interior bulkheads.

Tour of the US Spy Ship Pueblo

Our North Korean Pueblo guide and myself – what a smile!


Post 101

Is this really post 101?

At An American in North Korea I have tried to post something new and original on a daily basis. For the most part I have succeeded – but damn have I been busy lately!  My ship is coming out of dry dock and I have been run ragged getting her cleaned up and ready for sea again.

Unfortunately I am also starting to run out of original material and photos to post. But  don’t worry!  I still have some ideas for when things quiet down and there is a Spring trip to the DPRK being planned!

Taedong River Traffic North Korea

Posting a picture of the North Korean maritime industry as a reminder that no matter how crazy and busy things get on my ship I always have something to be thankful for!