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    South Korea rescues ship from Somali pirates


    by ODN


    The South Korean navy has repossessed a hijacked ship, rescuing 21 crew members and killing eight abductors in a courageous raid on Somali pirates.

    The 11,500-ton freighter 'Samho Jewelry' had set off from the United Arab Emirates heading to Sri Lanka when it was captured.

    It was the second vessel from South Korea-based 'Samho Shipping' to be overtaken by Somali pirates in recent months.

    South Korean special forces stormed the ship in the Arabian Sea in a pre-dawn rescue operation with a destroyer and Lynx helicopter capturing five pirates and killing eight.

    According to Lieutenant General Lee Sung-ho, the captain of the ship was shot and wounded by a pirate and has been taken by a US helicopter to a nearby country for treatment. The 20 other crew members were rescued unharmed.

    Lieutenant General Lee said the operation showed South Korean government's strong will. Adding there would be negotiations with the illegal activities of pirates targeting South Korean ships.

    President Lee Myung-bak said that his government would not accept behaviour that "threatens the lives and safety of our people."

    The successful raid is a triumph for Lee, whose government suffered harsh criticism in November following a North Korean attack on a South Korean island near disputed waters.