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S. Korean warship changes Libyan destination to Tripoli

All Headlines 11:38 March 02, 2011

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean warship heading to Libya to help with evacuation efforts from the turmoil-torn country has changed its destination and will arrive in the capital of Tripoli later Wednesday (Korean time), officials in Seoul said.

The 4,500-ton destroyer Choi Young, which had been in waters near Somalia for anti-piracy operations, was ordered last week to head to Libya to help evacuate South Koreans from the bloodshed in the North African nation.

The ship was originally scheduled to arrive at the eastern Libyan port of Benghazi, but is now heading to the port of Tripoli as two charter vessels are headed to the eastern port, a foreign ministry official said.

The warship, capable of accommodating hundreds of people in addition to its 300 crew members, has been given oral approval from Libyan authorities to dock at the Tripoli port, the official said. About 50 South Koreans are expected to take the ship, he said.

Hundreds of South Koreans have left Libya by air and land over the past week as clashes between anti-government protesters and forces loyal to the country's leader, Moammar Gadhafi, intensified. The clashes are believed to have left hundreds of people killed and thousands injured.

As of Tuesday, 388 South Koreans remained in Libya.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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