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Seoul stages anti-piracy exercise

South Korea on Tuesday staged a joint anti-piracy exercise in the waters off the southeastern city of Masan, involving its latest replacement forces for its 300-strong contingent in Somali waters.

The naval exercise, also involving coast guards and a vessel from a private shipping company, was jointly staged by the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.

The ninth replacement for the Cheonghae Unit stationed in Somali waters includes a 4,400-ton destroyer.

The South Korean unit has been operating in Somali waters since early 2009 as part of international efforts to help protect ships passing through the Gult of Aden, also used by some 500 South Korean vessels annually.

In January, Navy commandos from the Cheonghae unit raided a South Korean freighter hijacked by Somalian pirates, rescuing all 21 crew members and bringing five Somali pirates here for trial. (Yonhap News)