Friday, January 21, 2011
Soth Korea's SEALs kick ass
Earlier today, (Friday 1/21/11) The Republic of South Korea (ROK) completed a nearly flawless takeover of the ship Samho Jewelry off the coast of Oman. It had been hijacked by a group of 13 armed Somali pirates while en route from the UAE to Sri Lanka. The ship is a 11,500 ton chemical carrier, owned and operated by Samho Shipping out of South Korea. This is the second of the their ships to be hijacked in the last several months. The crew was a mix of Koreans, Indonesians, and Myanmar citizens. ( Myanmarese? Myanmarites? If you know tell me)
At first light the ROK SEALs approached the ship in a small craft while being covered by a ROKN destroyer and Lynx helicopter. The entire operation took about five hours and ended with all 21 hostages rescued. Five pirates were taken prisoner and eight of these stellar examples of humankind will trouble no one again. The captain of the ship was wounded by one of the pirates in the assault, but the wound was stated to be non-life threatening and he was flown to a nearby country for treatment by a US military helicopter. There were no other injuries.
During the assault, the Lynx helicopter broadcast a message in Korean for everyone to lay down and then began to fire at the ship with its 12.7mm machine gun to cover the SEALs climbing the side of the ship. You can see the impact marks on the pic below. This operation is significant not just for the crew and ship that were freed or the pirates killed or captured. This is one of the only anti-pirate assaults of its kind. In most other assaults of pirate-held ships the crew has been locked away in a safe room known as a citadel. That way the team has very little risk of accidentally shooting the crew whether through cross fire or misidentification.
As of today, it is estimated that there are at least 29 vessels and 703 hostages being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia. The shipping route that lies near Somalia is one of the most vital in the world and connects the Indian Ocean to the Suez Canal and then to the Mediterranean Sea. It is extremely economically important not only to nearby nations, but to the entire world.
This was great work by the South Korean Navy and all involved should be proud.