Recent upgrades at Chinhae Naval Base mean that ships won’t have to keep their engines running while in port, officials said.

A $5.3 million project to the facilities on Pier 11 make it the only military pier in South Korea capable of supplying power to ships, according to project coordinator Lenny Kim.

The pier also now is equipped with a sewage removal system that can move as many as 340 gallons of raw sewage per minute.

Kim said the upgrades give ship commanders a range of options. Sailors who in the past were required to stay aboard the ship to keep the engines running now will be able to take liberty, he said.

It also saves on fuel, though he couldn’t provide any savings estimates.

“You can stretch your stay in Korea,” he said.

The project began in December 2005 and involved laying one and a half miles of high-voltage cable and construction of two transformers.

The pier can power two ships, either South Korean or American, at the same time but cannot support aircraft carriers, which Kim said require too much power.

Nearby Pier 22 also was upgraded, allowing officials there to once again power submarines.

The project was funded by the South Korean Ministry of National Defense under the Common Defense Improvement Projects program and built by local contractors.

The next Naval Forces Korea project is a $5.1 million headquarters building on Chinhae.

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