Just as Korea’s shipbuilding industry is suffering tough business conditions and sweeping restructuring, a Korean shipbuilder's blueprint for a new LNG carrier has leaked to a foreign shipbuilder. Experts fear that the leak of Korea's premier technology may result in serious loses for the country.
This is an LNG carrier manufactured by a Korean shipbuilder. The production of LNG carriers is an area in which the Korean shipbuilding industry ranks No. 1 in the global market.
[Soundbite] "It must be a vessel not anyone can make, because it's a special ship."
[Soundbite] Official in Shipbuilding Industry(Voice modified) : "Yes, only Korea's three largest shipbuilders, China and Japan can make such ships."
But recently the LNG carrier blueprint of a Korean shipbuilder was found to havebeen leaked by current and former employees of a contractor to a Japanese shipbuilding company. There has been a string of attempts to leak Korea's shipbuilding technology to foreign competitors. In 2007 an industry official was caught while trying to sell shipbuilding technology worth nearly 32 billion U.S. dollars. Also, a group of industry spies who was trying to sell the on-land shipbuilding technology to a Chinese company was caught last month. Rival companies eyeing Korea's world-class shipbuilding technology are tempting the employees of local shipbuilders with extraordinary benefits to steal technologies.
[Soundbite] Rep. Lee Cheol-woo(National Assembly's Intelligence Committee) : "It's very unfortunate that key technology is being leaked while industrial competitiveness is weakening. The leaking of core technology should be regarded as espionage and punished severely."
Korea needs to urgently design countermeasures as the workers laid off during the industrial restructuring could cause serious technology leaks when they leave for China or other countries.