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South Korean forces free hijacked tanker, kill 8 pirates

South Korean forces free hijacked tanker, kill 8 pirates

Seoul: The South Korean navy has freed the hijacked tanker Samho Jewelry rescuing the 21 crew and killing eight pirates. Korean special naval forces stormed the vessel operated by Samho on Friday.

 The 19,609 dwt chemical tanker was hijacked by Somali pirates on 15 January. "Our special forces stormed the hijacked Samho Jewelry earlier today and freed all hostages," said Lee Bung-woo, a spokesman at South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Yonhap reported.

"During the operation, our forces killed some Somali pirates and all of the hostages were confirmed alive," Lee told reporters. The vessel's South Korean master was reported to have received a gunshot wound to the stomach, but his condition is non-life threatening. The rescue operation reportedly took place on the high seas 1,300 km off the coast of northeast Somalia.

Anti-piracy watchdog the International Maritime Bureau praised the action of the Korean navy. "The IMB commends the robust actions of the South Korean navy and renews its call for greater naval action in the fight against this brand of maritime crime," said Potengal Mukundan, director of the IMB. [21/01/11]