SOUTH KOREAN NAVY CHASES PIRATES FROM NORTH SEA


A South Korean Navy destroyer chased Somali pirates from a North Korean cargo ship off the African coast in the country’s first such operation abroad, military officers in Seoul said on Monday.

The South Korean destroyer has been escorting cargo vessels since April off piracy-prone Somalia on a key shipping route for South Korean container vessels and oil tankers.

The suspected pirates came as close as 3 kms (1.8 miles) to the North Korean vessel at the time a navy helicopter arrived at the scene, an official with the Joint Chief of Staff’s office said by telephone.

“Three kilometres is pretty close when you’re talking about the ocean,” he said.

Heavily-armed Somali pirates have stepped up their attacks on vessels in Indian Ocean shipping lanes and the Gulf of Aden, capturing dozens of vessels, kidnapping hundreds of hostages and raking in millions of dollars in ransoms.

SOURCED FROM REUTERS

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