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Koreans say hijacked sailors are safe

Jan. 16, 2011 at 1:48 PM

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Crew members on a South Korean freighter hijacked by Somali pirates are all safe, a Foreign Ministry official said Sunday.

The 11,500-ton chemical freighter, the Samho Jewelry, was sailing to Sri Lanka from the United Arab Emirates with a crew of 21 when it was seized in waters between Oman and India Saturday, apparently by Somali pirates, Yonhap reported.

"The location of the ship was found and the 21 crew members, including eight South Koreans, were all confirmed to be safe through communications between Samho Shipping Co. and the ship," said the official, requesting anonymity, referring to the name of the freighter's owner. "We are discussing countermeasures together with related government offices."

The South Korean destroyer Choi Young is sailing toward the hijacked freighter, official sources in Seoul said.

"The Choi Young has begun to sail toward the Samho Jewelry and is expected to reach waters near the hijacked ship in two days," said an official.

The destroyer is part of the Cheonghae Unit, which has been patrolling the pirate-infested waters off Somalia since early 2009.

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