5 March 2017

Somalia: South Korea Joins EU's Anti-Piracy Operation Off Somalia Coast

South Korea's 4,400-ton destroyer Choe Yeong participated in a European Union-led military operation to combat pirates in the waters around the Gulf of Aden near Somalia, the military here said Sunday.

The South Korean destroyer's participation in Operation Atalanta lasted from Feb. 27 to March 4 under the leadership of the Combined Maritime Forces, a multi-national naval partnership, as well as the EU's maritime forces command for Somalia, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The joint military exercise primarily involved escorting commercial ships through the pirate-infested waters as well as anti-piracy reconnaissance.

It was the first time the destroyer and the South Korean anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit has taken part in the joint exercise in the sea off the northeastern city of Bosaso in Somalia, according to the ministry.

Besides the destroyer, a Spanish Galicia-class landing ship joined the operation, along with maritime patrol aircraft, rigid inflatable boats and UDT/SEAL forces.

"Cheonghae Unit's participation in the EU's anti-piracy operation was an opportunity to strengthen the Navy's capabilities to perform combined operations with EU naval forces as well as enlarge our contributions to the international community's efforts to stop pirates in the waters near Somalia," the unit's commander Capt. Kim Kyung-ryul said.

The Korean unit's participation in the international counter-piracy operation is in line with the Korea-EU risk management activity pact that took effect in December, the military also said.

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