South Korean media outlets report that the country has held its first joint anti-piracy exercises with the Ukrainian Navy.
The naval drills took place in the Indian Ocean, off Somalia on Saturday, according to South Korean naval sources. South Korea has had a naval presence in the region since 2009 to protect merchant ships transiting the High Risk Area and took part in a daring raid in January 2011 to free 21 crew held hostage by Somali pirates on board the hijacked MV Samho Jewelry. A South Korean destroyer followed the Samho Jewelry for several days before the pre-dawn raid was launched by South Korean Special Forces. During the assault, eight pirates were killed and the whole crew freed, although the ship‚Äôs Captain was shot in the stomach by pirates during the rescue.
The South Korean protective force is known as the Cheonghae Unit and is deployed from Jinhae Naval Base.
The joint exercise with Ukraine included Navy SEALs and Underwater Demolition Teams who conducted vessel search and seizure raids among other drills.¬†