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Monday, August 24, 2009

New Korean naval contingent operating in Gulf of Aden

Seoul: A fresh contingent of 300 South Korean troops has begun operating off the Somali coast, replacing an anti-piracy unit that had been deployed there since April, officials told Yonhap Monday. The Dae Jo Yeong destroyer took over on Saturday from the 4,500-ton Munmu the Great, which has escorted a total of 300 boats and is due to return to South Korea by mid-October, Joint Chiefs of Staff officials here said. The 300-crew Munmu the Great, the first South Korean warship sent to operate under the U.S.-led anti-piracy drive, rescued seven commercial vessels, including a North Korean one, during its deployment. Approximately 500 South Korean ships ply the Gulf of Aden each year. About 150 of them are vulnerable to pirate attacks because of their low speed, according to the defense ministry. [24/08/09]