Korean Navy nears supertanker seized by Somali pirates

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Korean Navy nears supertanker seized by Somali pirates


4일 오후 인도양에서 소말리아 해적에게 피랍된 39삼호 드림호39. [연합뉴스]

A South Korean navy destroyer has caught up with a hijacked supertanker under control of Somali pirates, an official at Seoul's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The destroyer has tracked down the 300,000-ton tanker, Samho Dream, heading to Somali waters, the official told reporters.

"The destroyer, Chungmugong Yi Sun-shin, arrived in waters near the Samho Dream at around 1:20 a.m. [Korean time] and is now operating in its vicinity," he said.

The 4,500-ton destroyer was keeping a close watch over the hijacked vessel about 30 miles away, a defense ministry official said.


The South Korean-operated tanker, carrying five South Korean and 19 Filipino crew members, was seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean on Sunday on its way to the United States from Iraq. It sent a distress call to the South Korean destroyer saying three pirates had boarded it.

The destroyer, which had been operating in Somali waters as part of global efforts to fight piracy, was ordered to speed to the seized ship. Foreign Ministry officials earlier said the destroyer will not attempt to intercept or board the hijacked vessel, as the move could put the ship's crew at a greater risk.

The tanker was believed to be headed toward Somali waters where 26 other commercial and private vessels and about 400 people of varying nationalities are held by pirates, the Foreign Ministry official said.

The ship's South Korean operator, Samho Shipping Company, said the pirates have not yet made any contact to make demands for the release of the ship and its crew members.


`오전 1시20분, 삼호드림호 이동 해역 도착`

청해부대 충무공이순신함(4천500t급)이 소말리아 해적에게 납치된 삼호드림호 추적에 성공, 50여㎞ 이내에서 근접 기동 중인 것으로 알려졌다.

외교부 관계자는 6일 "충무공이순신함이 오늘 오전 1시20분께(한국시각) 삼호드림호가 이동 중인 해역에 도착해 삼호드림호 인근에서 기동 중"이라며 "납치된 삼호드림호는 소말리아 연안을 향해 이동 중인 것으로 파악됐다"고 밝혔다.

국방부 관계자도 "우리 함정이 삼호드림호에서 30여마일 가까이 근접 기동하면서 감시태세에 돌입했다"며 "선원들의 안전 확보를 위해 일단 선박의 항로를 주시하면서 기동을 하고 있다"고 말했다.

충무공이순신함과 삼호드림호는 피랍 지역에서 서북쪽으로 500여㎞ 떨어진 곳에서 기동 중인 것으로 전해졌다.

충무공이순신함에는 대잠헬기(LYNX)와 고속단정(RIB) 각 1대, 특수전(UDT/SEAL) 요원으로 구성된 검문.검색팀 30명 등이 탑승해 있다.
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