January 21, 2011 22:40
Korea says its forces have retaken a hijacked ship from Somali pirates and freed the 21-member crew.
Lieutenant General Lee Seong-ho, of the Korean Joint chiefs of Staff, says naval special forces stormed the MV Samho Jewelry early Friday, after trailing the hijacked ship for days. He told reporters the commandos rescued all crew members while killing eight Somali pirates and capturing another five. He says the South Korean captain of the freighter was shot in the abdomen during the rescue but is expected to recover.
Friday's operation took place in the Arabian Sea, about 1,300 kilometers northeast of Somalia. The ship was heading to Sri Lanka from the United Arab Emirates when it was hijacked last Saturday. The vessel's crew includes 11 Burmese nationals, eight Koreans, and two Indonesians.
President Lee Myung-bak, who authorized the operation, said it shows that Korea will not tolerate attacks on any of its people.
Somalia pirates have made hundreds of millions of dollars hijacking ships in recent years. The European Union's anti-piracy force says the pirates are currently holding at least 30 ships and more than 700 hostages.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com