North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard: Continuing Submarine Construction and Minor Improvements at the Secure Boat Basin

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Jack Liu and Peter Makowsky

Recent commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard indicates continuing submarine construction of possibly another SINPO-class ballistic missile submarine, as evidenced by movement of parts and equipment in the staging area adjacent to the construction halls.

Figure 1. Movement of parts and equipment indicate ongoing construction of a new submarine.

Figure 1A. Movement of parts and equipment indicate ongoing construction of a new submarine, April 11, 2019. Image Pleiades © CNES 2019, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 1B. Movement of parts and equipment indicate ongoing construction of a new submarine, May 5, 2019. Image © 2019 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0
Figure 1C. Movement of parts and equipment indicate ongoing construction of a new submarine, June 3, 2019. Image © 2019 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0

Additionally, minor improvements are being made to the secure boat basin, including the installation of 12 probable davit arm cranes spaced at regular intervals along much of the quay sometime between April 11 and May 5. These cranes would facilitate loading lightweight supplies and equipment down the hatches of the submarine and onto the submersible launch barge.

Figure 2. Davit arm cranes were installed at the secure boat basin between April 11 and May 5.

Figure 2A. Davit arm cranes were installed at the secure boat basin between April 11 and May 5. Image Pleiades © CNES 2019, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected]
Figure 2B. Davit arm cranes were installed at the secure boat basin between April 11 and May 5. Image © 2019 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0
Figure 2C. Davit arm cranes at the secure boat basin June 3, 2019. Image © 2019 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0
Stay informed about our latest
news, publications, & uploads:
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea