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S. Korea sends naval destroyer to Suez Canal amid ship salvage work

Diplomacy 19:55 March 29, 2021

SEOUL, March 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea sent a naval destroyer to the Suez Canal to ensure the safety of its nationals using the waterway, as operations to rescue a stranded giant vessel are under way, the defense ministry said Monday.

Last week, the 200,000-ton container vessel got stuck sideways in the canal in northeastern Egypt, blocking off the crucial international waterway. On Monday, it was partly refloated after rescue work, according to foreign media outlets.

"The defense ministry moved the Cheonghae Unit earlier in the day to the Gulf of Aden for missions to protect Korean vessels which detoured from the Suez Canal to the Cape of Good Hope (in South Africa)," the ministry said in a release.

South Korea has stationed the 300-strong antipiracy unit of Cheonghae in waters off Somalia since 2009. From last year, the contingent temporarily expanded its mission areas from the Gulf of Aden to include the Strait of Hormuz upon the request by the U.S. to help protect the strategic waterway.

This 2019 file photo shows the South Korean destroyer Choi Young. South Korea said on Jan. 5, 2021, it is sending the anti-piracy Cheonghae Unit aboard the warship toward waters near the Strait of Hormuz after Iranian naval forces seized a South Korean-flagged tanker, the MT Hankuk Chemi, for alleged environmental pollution in the Persian Gulf the previous day. (Yonhap)
This handout picture, released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 29, 2021 and issued by AFP, shows tugboats pulling the Panama-flagged MV Ever Given (operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine) container ship, a 400-metre-long and 59-metre wide vessel, lodged sideways impeding traffic across Egypt's Suez Canal waterway. Egypt's Suez Canal Authority said on March 29 the Ever Given container ship, which has been blocking the crucial waterway for nearly a week, has been "reorientated 80 percent in the right direction". (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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