USS Pueblo Spy Ship Capture

USS Pueblo (AGER-2) is a Banner-class environmental research ship, attached to Navy intelligence as a spy ship, which was attacked and captured by North Korean forces on 23 January 1968, in what is known today as the “Pueblo incident[1] or alternatively, as the “Pueblo crisis“.

The seizure of the U.S. Navy ship and her 83 crew members, one of whom was killed in the attack, came less than a week after President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s State of the Union address to the United States Congress, a week before the start of the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and three days after 31 men of North Korea‘s KPA Unit 124 had crossed the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and killed 26 South Koreans in an attempt to attack the South Korean Blue House (executive mansion) in the capital Seoul. The taking of Pueblo and the abuse and torture of her crew during the subsequent 11-month prisoner drama became a major Cold War incident, raising tensions between western and eastern powers.

North Korea stated that Pueblo deliberately entered their territorial waters 7.6 nautical miles (14 km) away from Ryo Island, and that the logbook shows that they intruded several times.[2] However, the United States maintains that the vessel was in international waters at the time of the incident and that any purported evidence supplied by North Korea to support its statements was fabricated.[3] Pueblo, still held by North Korea today, officially remains a commissioned vessel of the United States Navy.[4] Since early 2013, the ship has been moored along the Pothong River in Pyongyang and used there as a museum ship at the Victorious War Museum.[5] Pueblo is the only ship of the U.S. Navy still on the commissioned roster currently being held captive.[6]