S. Korean oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates
The ministry announced that the 300,000-ton ship, the Samho Dream, which was on its way from Iraq to the U.S. state of Louisiana, is
"believed to have been seized by Somali pirates at around 4:10 p.m. (Seoul time) Sunday." The hijacking happened in waters about 1,500km
southeast of the Gulf of Aden, where a South Korean Navy destroyer is operating to help the global efforts to fight piracy there, it said.
The ship has a total of 24 crew -- five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos, it added.
The ministry said it held an emergency meeting to discuss related measures.
It said that the ship's owner, Samho Shipping Co., will do its best to win the early release of the vessel and crew and that the government
will provide every possible means of support.
The waters near the East African nation are notorious for pirates who seek huge amounts of ransom for seized ships.
In a previous case involving South Koreans, pirates seized a Japanese-flagged freighter in November 2008, holding captive five South Korean and 18 Filipino crew. All of them were released unharmed after three months of negotiations over ransom. The amount of ransom paid was not disclosed.
South Korea dispatched a 4,500-ton destroyer last year to the Somali waters to protect commercial vessels there. [Yonhap]