By Jun Ji-hye
The Korean Navy celebrated the fourth anniversary of its successful rescue operation against Somali pirates, Wednesday.
About 200 participants, including Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Hwang Ki-chul and other high-ranking officers and sailors, attended the event held on the destroyer Choe Yeong at the Naval Operations Command in the port city of Busan.
During the operation, code-named “Dawn of Gulf of Aden,” carried out by members of the Navy’s elite Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) on Jan. 21, 2011, eight pirates were killed and five were captured near the waters of Somalia.
Seok Hae-kyun, the South Korean captain of the hijacked ship, 11,500-ton chemical carrier Samho Jewelry, was seriously wounded, but no other crew members were injured.
“The (anniversary) event began at 10:46 a.m. when the operation began,” the Navy said in its press release.
Seok and Dr. Lee Kook-jong from Ajou University Hospital, who operated on Seok, also participated in the event.
Defense Minister Han Min-koo, who orchestrated the Aden operation as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at that time, said in a congratulatory message, “The operation was a splendid achievement that protected the lives of the people of the Republic of Korea from hostility.”
Hwang, then chief of naval operations, said, “The Navy had a monumental victory.”
After the event, Navy also held a photo exhibition showing activities of UDT members during the operation.